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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 731

Freshman US Congressman to take oaths on Holy Koran: And declare ‘Allahhu Akbar’ creating history in America

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 9 December (Asiantribune.com): Keith Ellison, elected to the United States Congress on the Democratic Party ticket from the State of Minnesota at the November 7 mid term elections, has already announced that he will take his oaths on Islam’s supreme holy book, the Koran, when the new 109th Congress convenes next January.

Instead of ‘So Help me God’, Ellison, an African American and of Islamic faith, will pledge to uphold the Constitution of the United States ending with the phrase ‘Allahhu Akbar’ meaning God is Great in Arabic.

In almost 225 years of constitutional history, this is the first time a person of Islamic faith has been elected to the Congress, and the elected representative taking the oath of office on the Holy Koran in the well of the House is extremely a historic event.

A well known conservative radio show host Dennis Prager, last week, created a controversy in the United States when he declared that allowing Ellison to place his hand on the Koran, rather than the Bible, "will embolden Islamic extremist" and do "more damage to the unity of America and to the value system that has formed this country than the terrorists of 9/11."

Taking a page from Prager’s book, American Family Association in a nation-wide e-mail encouraged its supporters to urge their representatives to pass a law making the Bible the book used to swear in U.S. representatives and senators.

The Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives said that it doesn’t expect any problem if Ellison used the Holy Koran when he and other members are sworn in early next year. Members raise their right hand and can put their left on any book they want- or no book at all.

Dennis Prager in his widely patronage radio talk show later picked up by the internet giving wide coverage had this to say about the issue:

"Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran.

"He should not be allowed to do so – not because any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.

"First, it is an act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multicultural activism – my culture trumps America’s culture. What Ellison and his Muslim and leftist supporters are saying is that it is of no consequence what America holds as its holiest book; all that matters is what any individual holds to be his holist book.

"Forgive me, but America should not give a hoot what Keith Ellison’s favorite book is. Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don’t serve in Congress. In your personal life, we will fight for your right to prefer any other book. We will even fight for your right to publish cartoons mocking our Bible. But, Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath."

Well, Asian Tribune examined the Constitution of the United States to ascertain the legality of taking the oath of office in the Senate or the House, and this is what the Constitution says:

Article 6 Clause 3 of the Constitution: "The Senators and Representatives…, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

Since the Constitution provides the above, it would be unconstitutional to require Congressman-elect Ellison to ‘swear on the Bible’ if that is not his preference.

The United States Constitution, from the beginning, has contemplated the nation’s multi-religious society. The value system that formed the United States includes separation of church and state, and most certainly does not include any requirement that the representatives of the people must be adherents of the Christian faith. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, others, may all be chosen by the people as representatives.

The forefathers drafted the Constitution of the United States to survive at all times and resist deadly weather, definitely to survive such onslaughts from conservative radio talk hosts like Dennis Prager who endeavors to divide this nation at a time the nation needs to unite.

- Asian Tribune -

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