Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Muslims - don't believe the stereotypes

Given the negative stereotypes about Muslims, it is refreshing to look at the record of Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the US congress.

He is in favour of LGBT rights, and has actively campaigned against a ban on gay weddings. "When the religious conservatives come knocking (and they will), inviting the Black church to join in the ecumenical multi-racial opposition to gay marriage, then I hope our ministers ask: "How does picking on gays help us to fight for justice, to set the captives free, to rebuild the wasted cities or to feed the hungry? Would a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage help us to welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, heal the sick, or visit those in prison?"

He is strongly pro-choice: “I believe … firmly that the moral, religious, cultural, and medical decision of whether or not to complete a pregnancy must be left to the woman, and the people who she wishes to consult.”

Ellison acted as an attorney in ethics proceeding in the House of Representatives against former representative Arlon Lindner, who contended that gays were not victims of Nazi oppression in the Holocaust. Ellison’s vocal opposition to holocaust revisionism has brought him the endorsement of the influential newspaper: American Jewish World.

He swims against the tide of racism by campaigning for Immigrants rights: “I honor and support immigrants and intend to be one of their champions in the United States Congress. I support comprehensive immigration reform and will work hard as a member of the United States Congress to move that agenda forward. Current immigration laws are outdated, unenforceable and do not offer a path to citizenship for the more than 11 million people currently living and working in the U.S. Denying a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who work and pay taxes makes it easier for unscrupulous employers to exploit these workers and drive down standards for all working people.”

His strong oppostion to neo-liberal economic policies has brought him the backing of labor unions: "Our nation needs an entirely different approach to our engagement with the global economy, a sort of global New Deal that protects jobs and democracy here, and contains specific mechanisms to raise wages and living standards in out trading partner nations. "

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