We’ve written several times about Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison’s hajj to Mecca, most recently here. A spokesman for Ellison, the first Muslim congressman, first told the Star Tribune that Ellison paid for the pilgrimage himself. The Star Tribune subsequently reported that the Minnesota chapter of the Muslim American Society paid for Ellison’s hajj. MAS spokesman Mahdi Bray heatedly denied the report, describing it as a “myth” and “urban legend” that couldn’t possibly be true because “that would be a breach of congressional ethics.”
When members of Congress filed their annual disclosure forms earlier this year, listing travel payments and reimbursements by private entities, Ellison’s form put to rest any lingering question about who paid for his two-week trip to Saudi Arabia, listing the MAS Minnesota as the benefactor reponsible for his hajj trip from November 29-December 14, 2008. MAS Minnesota covered all his expenses over the 16 days of his trip.
The MAS was of course founded as the American branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization that spawned all of the leading Sunni terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, Hamas and others. You can read about MAS here. Its pro-terrorist, anti-American orientation continues to this day.
Here in Minnesota, the local MAS chapter is notorious for stirring up trouble in a variety of fabricated controversies. It is also at the heart of the story of the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy in suburban St. Paul, a Muslim school run with taxpayer funds under the supervision of a principal/imam (Asad Zaman) who is the MAS Minnesota’s immediate past president and who I believe is still affiliated with the organization. It is Zaman who invited Ellison to travel to Mecca as the guest of the MAS Minnesota.
As I note in the post immediately below, the ACLU Minnesota has brought a lawsuit against TiZA alleging that the school is operating illegally as a religious institution on public funds. Yesterday the Minnesota federal district court denied the school’s dismissal motion. The school’s penchant for secrecy should not survive the lawsuit’s discovery process.
Like TiZA, Keith Ellison has a penchant for secrecy too. He refuses to disclose the cost of his trip to Mecca, asserting that House Ethics rules shield the it from disclosure. The Star Tribune reports today:
Nearly eight months later, the Minneapolis DFLer faces a House Ethics Committee review of his decision to keep the trip’s costs under wraps — even though it was paid for by a local Islamic nonprofit and typically would be reported as a gift to a public official.
Asked about the trip Tuesday, Ellison said that he is “not privy to the internal workings of the organization” that covered his costs, and that he complied with all House Ethics panel disclosure requirements. “Why should I waive a right that’s accorded me under the rules?” he said.
What’s going on here? Ellison’s statement that he sees no reason to disclose the cost of the trip suggests that he knows how much it cost. Yet Ellison’s statement that statement that he’s not privy to the internal workings of the MAS Minnesota suggests that disclosure is up to the organization. On its face, the latter statement makes no sense unless it implies that the organization has refused to disclose the cost of the trip to Ellison himself, or perhaps Ellison is referring to the issues regarding TiZA’s finances that is also discussed in the story.
As noted above, the Star Tribune first reported on Ellison’s hajj in two puff pieces by Mitch Anderson this past December. Anderson first reported the statement of Ellison spokesman Rick Jauert that Ellison had paid for the trip himself. When Anderson returned to the story, he got such deep stuff from Ellison as this: “This is just me trying to be the best person I can be.” In the second story Anderson also reported that the MAS Minnesota paid for Ellison’s trip to Mecca, though Anderson didn’t pause to note the discrepancy between his two stories on this point. (I wrote about the two stories here.)
The Ellison connection explored in the Star Tribune story today provides a glimpse of the constellation of Islamist forces at work in Minnesota. Keith Ellison embodies the American left’s weird alliance with radical Islam. How Ellison reconciles his Islamic faith with the Democratic Party’s devout belief in homosexual rights, leftist feminism, abortion rights and every other element of the party’s most radical agenda is a subject that the Minnesota media have somehow left unexplored.
UPDATE: John’s and my former partner Norm Carpenter writes: “The Star Tribune describes Ellison as ‘a public figure who has faced some hostility as the first Muslim member of Congress…’ I think Ellison faces hostility because he simply cannot tell the truth.”