As Congress’s first Muslim and the Democratic National Committee’s Vice Chair, Minnesota Fifth District Rep.Keith Ellison has become a national figure. Minneapolis sits squarely within Ellison’s district. If you get your news from Minneapolis’s Star Tribune, however, you wouldn’t know much that Ellison doesn’t want you to know about him. At some point I should think professional pride would kick in to motivate the paper’s political reporters, but I’m still waiting for the day.
In the latest installment of the saga, we have Nation of Islam Supreme Leader Louis Farrakhan’s expression of disappointment in former Nation of Islam member (wait–what?) Keith Ellison. The expression of disappointment comes wrapped in anomalous Christian metaphor and the traditional anti-Semitic claptrap (which Ellison claimed to discover only late in his acquaintance with Farrakhan–really).
Farrakhan confuses the timeline on Ellison’s career. Ellison stuck with Farrakhan through his first run for state representative as Keith Ellison-Muhammad in 1998. By 2002, when Ellison was elected to the state legislature, he had shed the -Muhammad and the public self-identification with the Nation of Islam.
The photo of Ellison with the Final Call dates from 1995. I think it was taken at the University of Minnesota around the time of the Million Man March, which Ellison attended. He writes about it in his memoir while criticizing Farrakhan and omitting his own involvement with him and the Nation. He’s funny — funny-pecullar– that way.
There is a real story here. In case anyone wants a short course in the history, I tried to sort out the facts in “Louis Farrakhan’s first congressman” and “Keith Ellison for dummies” as well as in “The Ellison elision.”