Monday, August 6, 2007

Keith Ellison

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Keith and Islam

Ellison converted to Islam at the age of 19, but prefers to keep silent about his religious preference unless asked to comment on it directly.

"I'm a Muslim. I'm proud to be a Muslim. But I'm not running as a Muslim candidate," Ellison said during a break between a commemoration of Hurricane Katrina and an appearance at a public housing project. "I'm running as a candidate who believes in peace and bringing the troops out of Iraq now. I'm running as a candidate who believes in universal, single-payer health care coverage and an increase in the minimum wage," said Ellison.

Keith Ellison is the first Muslim in Congress, specifically Minnesota's 5th congressional district in the House of Representatives. He will serve from January 2007 to the next Congressional Election. He won this election by a landslide, get 56% of the votes while second place got only 21%.

He is known as a leader in the Muslim community and motivates many Muslims to join US Politics.

Al Qaeda has stated that he is an enemy to Islam in a videotape.

Keith Ellison used a Quran owned by Thomas Jefferson to swear in to Congress at the unoffiical ceremony.

Fast Facts

  • Convert: Yes
  • Born: Roman Catholic
  • Sect: Sunni (formerly Nation of Islam)
  • Most Famous For: First Muslim in Congress- specifically Minnesota's 5th congressional district in the House of Representatives (2007-2009)
  • Political Party: Democrat
  • Race: African-American


Keith Ellison, 42, is a father, husband, lawyer, state legislator and community advocate.

Originally from Detroit, Michigan, he moved to Minnesota in 1987 to attend University of Minnesota Law School, where he graduated with a Juris Doctor degree in 1990. Ellison and spouse Kim, a high school mathematics teacher, have lived on the Minneapolis Northside for the past 17 years. They have four children ages 17, 15, 10, and 9.

Ellison represents House District 58B in the Minnesota State Legislature, one of the most economically, racially, and demographically diverse districts in the State. He is a member of the Legislature's Public Safety, Policy and Finance Committees, and Election and Civil Law Committee.

Before being elected in 2002, Keith practiced law. He maintains his law practice in the new Minneapolis Urban League building on north Plymouth and Penn avenues, the heart of north Minneapolis. He practiced with the firm of Lindquist & Vennum for the first three years of his career. Thereafter, he was executive director of the Legal Rights Center, where he maintained a full-time case load, while managing the acquisition and remodeling of the Center's building, and instituting a number of new and vital programs. After leaving the Legal Rights Center, Keith entered private practice with the law firm Hassan & Reed Ltd, where he specialized in trial practice.

Keith has a long history of community service. For eight years he hosted a public affairs program on community radio. Before entering the legislature, Keith regularly testified before state congressional committees and legislators on issues including privacy, welfare reform, indigent defense, environmental justice and others. Keith has also organized citizens to address the issue of police community relations - in fact, Keith was directly involved in the effort to establish the Minneapolis Police-Civilian Review Board in the early 1990s.

Recognizing the district's diversity as a great strength, he builds common ground among people whether they are residents of downtown, the neighborhoods, or the North Loop

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Last Updated ( Friday, 19 January 2007 )


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