Rep. Keith Ellison Slams Colleague for Targeting Muslims

Congress' first elected Muslim responds to Rep. Peter King's call for closer scrutiny of Muslim community.

Posted: 04/23/2013 12:53 PM EDT
Rep. Keith Ellison Slams Colleague for Targeting Muslims

Tragedies like the Boston Marathon bombing have a tendency to stir up prejudice, especially if the suspects come from certain racial or religious backgrounds. The attack led New York Rep. Peter King, for example, to call for increased surveillance of the Muslim community during an appearance this week on Fox News Sunday.

King tried to justify his remarks by claiming that when the FBI went after the Mafia, it targeted Italian communities and Irish communities when going after members of the Irish-American gang known as the Westies.

Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to Congress, called his Republican colleague's remarks both "wrong" and "ridiculous."

"No one ever said let's surveil a whole ethnic community. They went after people who were criminals and who were exhibiting criminal behavior. Now, the fact that those people happen to be of a particular ethnic origin was not really the causal effect. The issue was what they were doing," he said Monday on MSNBC's News Nation With Tamron Hall. "And so, again, it is just ridiculous, I mean to say that because of the Westies that every Irish person was under suspect, everyone in America knows that's ridiculous. But still he wants to cast a wide net with regard to Muslims."

Ellison also said that in addition to being unfair, targeting an entire community for the actions of one member "wastes valuable resources. We need to channel resources where they are most needed, which is on behavior."


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(Photo: News Nation with Tameron Hall via MSN)

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