MN: DEMOCRAT SEEKS TO BE FIRST MUSLIM CONGRESSMAN
MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - A Minnesota state legislator who advocates a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq was favored to become the first Muslim in Congress, a day after he won his Democratic primary race.
State Rep. Keith Ellison, a lawyer who made little mention of his Muslim faith during the campaign and who is considered an eloquent orator, would also become the state's first black congressman if he wins the general election in November to represent a solidly Democratic district.
"In this election, we had people who say 'shalom.' We had people who say 'as-salaamu aleykum.' We had people who say all the words of greeting to each other in peace, because peace must be the guiding principle of our nation," the 43-year-old Ellison told his raucous victory party in Minneapolis on Tuesday night.
A representative of the Council on American-Islamic Relations welcomed the nomination as a step forward.
"We think it's a very encouraging sign, a sure sign of the growing empowerment of American Muslims and their growing participation in the body politic," spokesman Corey Saylor said.