WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Bill Sali has apologized to the nation’s first Muslim congressman, whose election Sali deemed in an interview as “not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers.”

The Idaho Republican has exchanged conciliatory e-mails with U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat who became the first Muslim in Congress last year. Both Sali and Ellison were elected in 2006.

Ellison was out of the country, so Sali was unable to call him, said Sali’s spokesman, Wayne Hoffman. Instead, he sent an e-mail and the two exchanged correspondence that was “very pleasant and cordial in nature,” Hoffman said.

“He was hopeful that Congressman Ellison understands he meant no disrespect or harm from his comment, and that he hoped that he would meet with him when he returned to Washington, D.C.,” Hoffman said.


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