keith ellison

Muslim Congressmen: Trump Not Alone in Toxic Rhetoric

The two Muslims in Congress attempted to tie the Trump controversy to other candidates who have made their own comments about followers of Islam. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Just a few days after Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump issued a call to ban Muslims from entering the country, the only two Muslims in Congress slammed the GOP presidential field for what they view as equally anti-Muslim rhetoric.  

“Our Republican friends have a responsibility to dial down the hatred," said Rep. André Carson, D-Ind., who mentioned that he received a death threat over the weekend that he attributes to an increasingly "toxic" climate toward those who share his faith. Speaking along with him on a call organized by the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., said "this is not a Trump problem alone," and attempted to tie the controversy to other candidates who have made their own comments about Muslims.  

House's Muslim Members Brace for Charged Terror Debate

Ellison, in 2011, arrives to testify at a Homeland Security Committee hearing on "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response" (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Updated 5:30 p.m. | The two Muslim members of the House share the sentiments of their fellow Democrats: Under no circumstances should the United States block Syrian refugees from this country in the aftermath of the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris..  

But for Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and André Carson of Indiana, there's a greater sense of urgency in how Congress responds to the violence at the hands of the Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIL or ISIS, that has a stranglehold in Syria. Ellison and Carson live and work in a political environment where “Islam” is often paired with the phrase “radical,” and many Republicans argue the only way to prevent “Muslim extremists” from coming to the United States is to bar entry of all asylum seekers from Syria.