On January 4, 2007, Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) made history when he became the first Muslim member of Congress and took the oath with a Quran once owned by Thomas Jefferson. “Look at that. That’s something else,” remarked Congressman Ellison as officials from the Library of Congress showed him the two-volume Quran (published in London in 1764).
According to the Washington Post, “The Quran was acquired in 1815 as part of a more than 6,400-volume collection that Thomas Jefferson sold for $24,000 to replace the congressional library that had been burned by British troops the year before, in the War of 1812. Jefferson, the nation’s third president, was a collector of books in all topics and languages. The book’s leather binding was added in 1919. Inside, it reads, “The Koran, commonly called ‘The Alcoran of Mohammed.'” Jefferson marked his ownership by writing the letter “J” next to the letter “T” that was already at the bottom of pages, according to Mark Dimunation, chief of the Library of Congress’ rare book and special collections division.”