The first Muslim elected to Congress told a cheering crowd of Muslims in Dearborn, Mich., on Dec. 24 that they should remain steadfast in theirfaithandpushforjustice,theDetroit Free Press reports.
“You can’t back down. You can’t chickenout.Youcan’tbeafraid.You’ve got to have faith in Allah, and you’ve gottostandupandbearealMuslim,” Detroit native Keith Ellison said to loud applause.
Manyinthecrowdreplied“Allahu akbar” — “God is great.”
Mr. Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat elected to the U.S. House in November,hasbeenthecenterofanational debate in recent weeks over Islam and its role in politics. Mr. Ellison has said he would take his oath of office on the Koran, the Muslim holy book, drawing criticism from some commentators.
ButMr.Ellison,speakingattheannualconventionoftheMuslimAmerican Society and the Islamic Circle of North America, said that Muslims can help teach America about justice andequalprotection.“Muslims,you’re uptobatrightnow,”hesaid.“Howdo you know that you were not brought rightheretothisplacetolearnhowto make this world better?”
Theconvention,whichendedDec. 25, drew more than 3,000 Muslims fromacrossthecountryfortheevent aimed at revival and reform. Mr. Ellison, who converted to Islam during college, made his remarks at the HyattRegency,thesiteofthefive-day convention.