Speaking to a standing room audience at the National Press Club in Washington DC, Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.) — the only two Muslim members of Congress — spoke about the rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric and bigotry during this election cycle. The Congressmen stated that the normalizing of this bigotry has lasting consequences and “is antithetical to what the founding father’s mandated in the First Amendment of the Constitution in the free exercise clause and the establishment clause. “
“What is the fallout?” questions Rep. Ellison. “Make no mistake about it these things have consequences. I remember when the ground zero faux controversy was going on, a man got into a cab asked the driver if he was a Muslim and the man began to stab.”
The congressman continued, “I think it is incomplete to say he [Donald Trump] is appealing to people’s bigotry. What he’s really doing is appealing to people’s tribalism and defining the tribe as white working class people…. He’s saying that if you’re in that group you’re us and if you’re not in that group you’re out. He’s doing two things and once when he starts spewing hate at Mexicans, people with disabilities, women. It’s very important to talk about his unbridled misogyny. But it’s a tribalistic, paternalistic impulse… that’s what he’s trying to do.”
Rep. Carson, who is a former law enforcement officer, brought attention to the fact that many members of the Muslim community proudly serve their country by working in law enforcement, public office and the U.S. military.