Rep. Keith Ellison spoke on the House floor Monday to denounce four Republicans who called for an investigation into Muslim interns in Congress who they believe could be spies. He read a statement released by the Tri-Caucus, which includes the Congressional Black Caucus, the Asian Caucus, and the Hispanic Caucus.
The Republican House members asked for the investigation after reading the book by Dave Gaubatz titled "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that's Conspiring to Islamize America." The Tri-Caucus labels Gaubutz an "anti-Islamic activist."
"These charges smack of an America of sixty years ago where lists of 'un-American' agitators were identified," Ellison read on the House floor. "We should be affirming the importance of diversity and tolerance for all interns and staff who serve in Congress without suspicion of being identified as 'spies.'"
Read the full statement and watch Ellison's speech below.
Four of our colleagues, Reps. John Shadegg (AZ), Paul Broun (GA), Trent Franks (AZ) and Sue Myrick (NC) recently requested that the House Sergeant at Arms to launch an investigation of the civil rights group CAIR, or Council on American-Islamic Relations, to determine whether it was placing staff and interns in key Congressional offices who they fear are acting as "spies."
This proposed investigation coincides with the launch of a book by Dave Gaubatz, an anti-Islamic activist and author of the book "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that's Conspiring to Islamize America." It features an introduction by Rep. Myrick, and was written after Gaubatz posed as an intern at CAIR in an effort to "infiltrate" the group.
These charges smack of an America of sixty years ago where lists of "un-American" agitators were identified. We should be affirming the importance of diversity and tolerance for all interns and staff who serve in Congress without suspicion of being identified as "spies."
The idea that we should investigate Muslim interns as spies is a blow to the very principle of religious freedom that our founding fathers cherished so dearly. If anything, we should be encouraging all Americans to engage in the U.S. political process; to take part in, and to contribute to, the great democratic experiment that is America.
We all have experienced the sting of discrimination and we know that there will be challenges ahead. But our message should be firm that the America we believe in welcomes people of all backgrounds to the U.S. Congress.
We ask these charges be disavowed and we issue a hearty welcome to interns and staff of all creeds, color, ethnicities and sexual orientation.