by Jane Bate and Bryan Hermansdorfer, ©2022

(Jul. 22, 2022) — [See previous installments in this series here. – Ed.]

It is important to keep in mind that any mention of “Islam” or of “Muslims” should be understood by the reader to be a reference to the rules of Islam drawn from the major sources of Islam: “The Reliance of the Traveller,” the “Hadith,” and the “Sira,” and not a guarantee that a Muslim will always act in accordance with Islamic rules. Just as Baptists, Jews, etc. often disagree on exactly how to interpret their teachings, the same is true of Islam. There is no guarantee that any given member of a religious group will necessarily follow the rules of that group, but when the penalties are life-threatening (as they can be in Islam), the likelihood is there.

The best approach to understanding the teachings of any religion is to read well-researched and reasoned literature by an expert in that subject. Regarding Islam, I would recommend beginning with Dr. Bill Warner’s statistics-based series, especially his primer, Sharia Law for Non-Muslims. Regarding the matter of Muslims running for elective office, I would suggest starting with Dr. Stephen Kirby’s Islamic Doctrine Versus the U.S. Constitution: The Dilemma for Muslim Public Officials.

Minnesota’s Keith Ellison was the first Muslim elected to Congress. Ellison started his first term in January 2007, as one of Minnesota’s representatives, and later retired to run for Minnesota Attorney General. In 2008, Andre Carson was successful in his run for Congressman from Indiana. In January of 2019, Ilhan Omar became the first Muslim to replace another Muslim (Keith Ellison) for the fifth district of Minnesota. At the same time, Rashida Tlaib was successful in winning the 13th district of Michigan. So, from Keith Ellison’s beginnings as the lone Muslim representative in 2007, we now have three Muslim representatives in Congress. As their numbers grow, we can expect their power to grow as well.

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