Thursday, 16 November 2006

Muslims in European parliaments

On Tuesday CNN Headline News host Glenn Beck did an interview with newly-elected congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim ever elected to the US Congress. A lot of people have reacted with outrage to the first part of this segment, where Beck demands that Ellison “prove” that he’s not working with terrorists. It was truly a ludicrous, outrageous thing to say, assuming that Ellison could be in league with terrorists simply because he’s Muslim.

But it was the second part of this clip that interested me, the part where Beck is seemingly beaming with pride that a Muslim can be elected to office in America. Here’s the transcript:
BECK: With that being said, you are a Democrat. You are saying, "Let's cut and run." And I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, "Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies."

And I know you're not. I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way.

ELLISON: Well, let me tell you, the people of the Fifth Congressional District know that I have a deep love and affection for my country. There's no one who is more patriotic than I am. And so, you know, I don't need to -- need to prove my patriotic stripes.

BECK: I understand that. And I'm not asking you to. I'm wondering if you see that. You come from a district that is heavily immigrant with Somalians. And I think it's wonderful, honestly, I think it is really a good sign that you are a -- you could be an icon to show Europe, this is the way you integrate into a country. I think the Somalians coming out and voting is a very good thing.
This last part is probably the least offensive, but to me it is the most idiotic. Nearly every country in Western Europe has Muslim members of parliament. For Beck to hold out the first election of a Muslim to congress in the United States as some sort of example for Europe, which has had Muslim members in its parliaments for over a decade, is just silly.

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