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Congressman Breaks into Tears at Anti-Muslim Hearing

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TEHRAN, March 12 (ICANA) – Rep. Keith Ellison (R-Minn.), one of two Muslim Americans serving in Congress, broke into tears on Thursday as he testified at the controversial hearing convened by Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) to examine the threat of violent extremism within the Muslim community in America.
Saturday, March 12, 2011 10:24:18 AM
Congressman Breaks into Tears at Anti-Muslim Hearing

Ellison had been called before the House Homeland Security Committee to offer his perspective representing a congressional district with the largest Somali-American population in the country. In the past, Ellison has accused King of being "McCarthyistic" in his approach to the Muslim community and wasted no time taking the congressman to task again on Thursday. politicsdaily.com

"We need to approach this through fair analysis and do no harm. I fear this hearing does not meet that standard," Ellison said to King. "When you ascribe the violent actions [of individuals] to an entire community, you assign blame to an entire community. This is the heart of scapegoating and stereotyping." politicsdaily.com

Ellison, who has decried the committee's singular focus on the Muslim community, became visibly upset as he recounted the story of Mohammad Hamdani, a Muslim-American paramedic who was among the many first responders killed in the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11. aussiemuslims.com

The Democratic congressman choked back sobs as he described how 23-year-old Hamdani, who grew up in Queens, was falsely linked to the 9/11 attackers after his death, simply because of his faith. When his remains were finally discovered at Ground Zero, Ellison said, Hamdani was vindicated. aussiemuslims.com

"Mohammed Salman Hamdani was a fellow American who gave his life for other Americans," Ellison said, his voice cracking. "His life should not be defined as a member of an ethnic group or a member of a religion, but as an American who gave everything for his fellow citizens." voices.washingtonpost.com

Ellison, who was elected in 2006, said he didn't agree with the committee's focus on Muslims and told the committee he worried that targeting one community could potentially threaten the nation's security. dyn.politico.com




In the first-ever, nationwide survey of Muslim Americans, the Pew research center found some rather interesting facts:

Roughly two-thirds (65%) of adult Muslims in the U.S. were born elsewhere. Among native-born Muslims, roughly half are African American (20% of U.S. Muslims overall), many of whom are converts to Islam. pewresearch.org

A majority of Muslim Americans (53%) say it has become more difficult to be a Muslim in the United States since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Most also believe that the government "singles out" Muslims for increased surveillance and monitoring. pewresearch.org

U.S. Muslims mostly identify as Democrats or lean to the Democratic Party. pewresearch.org

Muslim Americans express broad dissatisfaction with the direction of U.S. foreign policy. Most say that the U.S. made the wrong decision in using force against Iraq. pewresearch.org

Muslims' annual income - and perceptions of personal finances - are fairly comparable with those of the public. pewresearch.org

More than one-fifth of U.S. Muslims (22%) currently are enrolled in college classes, with similar rates of college enrollment among foreign-born (22%) and native-born (20%) Muslims. pewresearch.org

About a quarter (24%) of Muslim Americans have a college degree, including 10% who have gone on to graduate study. These numbers are similar to the U.S. general public. pewresearch.org

Economically, family income among Muslim Americans is roughly comparable with that of the population as a whole. Among adults nationwide, 44% report household incomes of $50,000 or more annually, as do 41% of Muslim American adults. pewresearch.org

Nearly half of Muslims in the U.S. (47%) say they think of themselves first as a Muslim, rather than as an American. pewresearch.org

At the highest end of the income scale, Muslim Americans are about as likely to report household incomes of $100,000 or more as are members of the general public (16% for Muslims compared with 17% among the public). pewresearch.org

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