Janurary 4, 2007
Thursday, Congressman-elect Keith Ellison used a Koran owned by Thomas Jefferson during his swearing-in ceremony.
The Democrat from Minnesota is the first Muslim elected to Congress. His decision to take the oath of office using a Koran created controversy last month. Virginia Representative Virgil Goode sent a letter to constituents warning that unless immigration is tightened, "many more Muslims" will be elected to Congress.
Jefferson's Koran was being held in the Library of Congress' rare book and special collections division. The chief of the Library carried the Koran across the street to the Capitol building.
Ellison says that his religious affiliation will not drive his politics. Not only is Ellison the first muslim elected to Congress, but he is also the first African American elected from the state of Minnesota.
Ellison's spokesman said Jefferson's Koran dates religious tolerance to the founders of the country.
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