Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) has issued a statement condemning a group of House Republicans for calling for an investigation of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) over charges the group was planning to plant spies as Congressional interns. According to the statement:
Four of our colleagues, Reps. John Shadegg (AZ), Paul Broun (GA), Trent Franks (AZ) and Sue Myrick (NC) recently requested that the House Sergeant at Arms to launch an investigation of the civil rights group CAIR, or Council on American-Islamic Relations, to determine whether it was placing staff and interns in key Congressional offices who they fear are acting as “spies.” This proposed investigation coincides with the launch of a book by Dave Gaubatz, an anti-Islamic activist and author of the book “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that’s Conspiring to Islamize America.” It features an introduction by Rep. Myrick, and was written after Gaubatz posed as an intern at CAIR in an effort to “infiltrate” the group. These charges smack of an America of sixty years ago where lists of “un-American” agitators were identified. We should be affirming the importance of diversity and tolerance for all interns and staff who serve in Congress without suspicion of being identified as “spies.” The idea that we should investigate Muslim interns as spies is a blow to the very principle of religious freedom that our founding fathers cherished so dearly. If anything, we should be encouraging all Americans to engage in the U.S. political process; to take part in, and to contribute to, the great democratic experiment that is America. We all have experienced the sting of discrimination and we know that there will be challenges ahead. But our message should be firm that the America we believe in welcomes people of all backgrounds to the U.S. Congress. We ask these charges be disavowed and we issue a hearty welcome to interns and staff of all creeds, color, ethnicities and sexual orientation.
Ellison is the first Muslim-American to be elected to Congress. Previous posts have discussed the controversy over his trip to Mecca which was funded by the Muslim American Society, a well-known U.S. Muslim Brotherhood group close to the Egyptian organization.
(Note: GMDR will review the book in question when a review copy becomes available.)