First Muslim Congressman begins his trip to the Mideast

Keith Ellison, became the first Muslim to be elected to the United States Congress, began a trip to the Middle East aimed at boosting the U.S. diplomatic efforts in Muslim countries.

First Muslim Congressman begins his trip to the Mideast

Keith Ellison, whowon the open seat for Minnesota's 5th congressional district in the House ofRepresentatives, one of eight congressional districts in Minnesota, and becamethe first Muslim to be elected to the United States Congress, began a trip tothe Middle East aimed at boosting the U.S. diplomatic efforts in Muslimcountries.

Ellison, who began his trip on Friday, is accompanied by House speaker NancyPelosi. The trip includes visits to Lebanon,Syria, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

His election to the United States Congress was inspirational to many AmericanMuslims, as it encourages civic empowerment through participation in thepolitical process.

He has been questioned about his ties to the leader of the Council on AmericanIslamic Relations, a Washingtonbased group that provides advocacy and education on Islamic issues.

Ellison was also accused of having ties to terrorist groups in the Middle East.

Even though Ellison's intention to visit Syriawas not highly appreciated by President Bush, Pelosi's office announced thatthe representatives planned to "to discuss a wide range of security issuesaffecting the United Statesand the Middle East with representatives of governments in the region,including Syria".

Dana Perino, the White House spokesman claimed that the Syrian President BasharAl Asad "probably really wants people to come, and have a photo opportunity,and have tea with him, and have discussions about where they're coming from. Butwe just think it's a really bad idea".

A professor at Macalester college, who happens to be an expert on the MiddleEAST, begged to differ when he expressed that Syria is one of the most importantplayers for diplomatic talks.

"There are not military solutions to the crises in the Middle East whether it'sthe Palestinians and Israelis or whether it's the current Iraqdebacle," he said.

"Diplomatic solutions are the future there because the other option's justto kill everybody. How long do you want these conflicts to go on?"

Ellison's trip also includes a visit to Israel. The visit was organisedwith the help of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas when Pelosi asked him to accompany her.

"My sense of it is that he's going to be listening and learning, and if there'san opportunity, perhaps he'll take advantage of it", Steve Hunegs, theExecutive Director of the Group said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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