Former 2016 presidential Democratic contender Bernie Sanders said he would be backing Keith Ellison – the first Muslim to be elected to the US Congress – for party’s leadership position. The Democratic Party has been reeling since its loss in the US elections last week that saw its candidate Hillary Clinton lose out to President-Elect Donald Trump. “I don't think the political establishment and the billionaires would like Keith Ellison as the DNC chair. Good! Join me in supporting Keith,” Sanders wrote.
According to the Washington Post, Ellison would represent a highly likely choice to be elected to the party’s chair position given his broad appeal to both sides of the party. “Ellison appeals to both of the party’s grassroots wings: the economic progressives who supported Bernie Sanders (whom Ellison endorsed) and social minority groups (Ellison was the first Muslim in Congress),” the Washington post reported.
The Muslim congressman was also endorsed on Thursday by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, another strong progressive voice inside the party. Ellison is the first Muslim to be elected to Congress in American history and currently serves as co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Meanwhile, the same Democrats who are howling about Bannon are applauding Ellison’s announcement that he is running for DNC Chair, despite the abundant evidence of Ellison’s links to anti-Semitic groups. Ellison has spoken at a convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).
Yet ISNA has actually admitted its ties to Hamas, which styles itself the Palestinian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Justice Department actually classified ISNA among entities “who are and/or were members of the US Muslim Brotherhood.” It gets worse. In 2008, Ellison accepted $13,350 from the Muslim American Society (MAS) to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca. The Muslim American Society is a Muslim Brotherhood organization.
Also, the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) raised large amounts of for Ellison’s first campaign, and he has spoken at numerous CAIR events. Yet CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case — so named by the Justice Department. CAIR officials have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups.
Hamas has declared: “Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah.” Ellison has spoken before several groups that have ties to Hamas, and has accepted money from a Muslim Brotherhood group; Hamas styles itself the Muslim Brotherhood for Palestine.
Does Keith Ellison also, then, think that “killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah”? No establishment media “journalist” would ever dream of asking him that question, but it’s a fair one: Hamas repeatedly demonstrates genuine and murderous anti-Semitism, and Ellison has repeatedly shown himself willing and even eager to associate himself with Hamas-linked groups.
In gilded rooms and marble-floored halls, in hotel basements and operatives’ offices, Democratic insiders, legislators and advisers in Washington, D.C., are huddling to discuss their party’s future after one of the worst election upsets in recent years.
They have begun reimagining the party’s roadmap after Hillary’ Clinton’s shocking defeat: Do Democrats stay the course, or realign the party? Was Clinton the wrong candidate for the times? What kind of party should they be—populist, multicultural or more centrist? First on the agenda is deciding on the next chair of the Democratic National Committee, a job that will help define the party’s ideology and its strategy to rebuild.
Rep. Keith Ellison, a Muslim congressman and an early endorser of the liberal firebrand Sen. Bernie Sanders, announced on Monday afternoon he is running to be the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Democratic Party’s leaders, including Sen. Chuck Schumer, Sen. Harry Reid and Sen. Bernie Sanders, have voiced their support. “We must begin the rebuilding process now,” Ellison said.
Each brings a different ideology and set of skills to the party that could chart its course amid tough setbacks. Whatever happens, much of the party’s soul-searching will play out in its pick for chair. The DNC will vote on its next chair early next year.
Ellison, the first Muslim to serve in Congress, has the blessing of both the Party’s leaders and the party’s grassroots. Schumer, the Democratic power broker and likely next Senate minority leader, said on Friday he supports Ellison’s bid. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren enthusiastically said Ellison would “would make a terrific DNC chair” in a television interview. The grassroots group Democracy for America has been supportive as well.
Ellison is a staunch opponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and a supporter of progressive economic policies. After losing key races in Rust Belt states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, some Democrats are betting that Ellison could be a better standard bearer for a new, populist party message.
Sanders, the democratic socialist and the face of the liberal wing of the party, said over and again that an outsider, populist message was the right one for the times. He lost the Democratic primary by a significant margin to Clinton, but many supported Clinton because they felt she had a better chance at beating Trump. Sanders’ wife Jane said in a CNN interview that she thought her husband would have beaten Trump.
Others are watching from the wings, wondering whether Ellison is the best person to fill the chair. O’Malley, who ran ran the Democratic Governors Association in 2011 and 2012, said that the next chair should have a firm vision for rebuilding the party and experience in progressive governance.
O’Malley ran the Democratic Governors Association and would draw on his own institutional knowledge; the former Maryland governor is widely respected as a manager who can make the trains run on time.
“A lot of people in this election determined that their vote was best used to protest an economy that wasn’t working for them, instead of supporting a Democratic Party that had their best interests at heart. We need to change that. We need to do better,” O’Malley told TIME. “There’s no one in this party who has better progressive credentials than I and no one who delivered results better in office than I have,” he added.
Some Democratic insiders privately worry that Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, would repel the white, working class voters who supported Trump. Others wonder whether the Party’s leadership is misreading the country’s mood, saying that despite Trump’s victory, 2016 was not a change election.
Howard Dean, who already served as DNC chair between 2005 and 2008, sniped at Ellison last week, suggesting he would struggle to be both a chair and a member of Congress. “Look, I like Keith Ellison a lot. He’s a very good guy,” Dean said in an MSNBC interview. “There’s one problem. You cannot do this job and sit in a political office at the same time. It’s not possible.”
America is the root cause of violent extremism, Congress’s foremost apologist for Islamic terrorism told a White House conference last week. In rambling remarks at President Obama’s so-called Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) used the opportunity to smear America, downplay Muslim violence, and urge law enforcement to go easy on suspected Muslim terrorists.
Ellison accused the U.S. of breeding terrorists by somehow persecuting Muslims. “The reason that we are susceptible to violent extremism is because we have not deepened opportunity in our country enough. Now it’s true that, certainly, economic deprivation makes people susceptible to being lured and seduced. That’s a fact. But it’s also true that not only is it economic deprivation, although it is certainly part of it. The other part of it is social deprivation as well and legal deprivation as well,” he said.
That Muslim terrorism is America’s fault is a frequent theme in Ellison’s speeches. In 2009 he said that “violent extremism with a Muslim veneer is essentially a post-colonial reaction” (i.e., a reaction to Western colonialism of the past) and a manifestation of a “political environment rooted in grievance.”
Ellison tried to downplay Islamist violence last week by suggesting it was on a par with religious violence committed by members of other faiths. Islam may only enjoy a near-monopoly on violent extremism but it is very close to cornering the market outright. Outbursts of violence from the occasional deranged Christian are outweighed by the tens of thousands of atrocities committed every year in the name of Islam. No other religions have such bloody track records in the modern era.
And although Ellison may now say he believes Muslims should be held accountable according to law that didn’t seem to be his position in 2008. In a radio interview that year he urged listeners to support University of South Florida professor Sami al-Arian. Al-Arian confessed to conspiring to supply goods and services to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group that carried out numerous suicide attacks on Israel.
Ellison also thinks that law enforcement goes too hard on his fellow Muslims. The police should be more gentle and restrained in their investigations, he suggests. In Ellison’s view it’s not fair when FBI agents pose as terrorists and work with would-be bombers in order to put them behind bars. Perhaps Ellison would be happier if FBI agents sat at their desks and waited patiently for terrorists to turn themselves in.
When Ellison won his first congressional election on Nov. 7, 2006, at his victory party several of his supporters shouted “Allahu Akbar!” which is the traditional battle cry of jihadists. ELLISON insisted on being sworn in to Congress on a quran.
In Ellison’s view it’s not fair when FBI agents pose as terrorists and work with would-be bombers in order to put them behind bars. Perhaps Ellison would be happier if FBI agents sat at their desks and waited patiently for terrorists to turn themselves in. Ellison’s comments will not come as a surprise to anyone who has followed his career.
Along with Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, Ellison is co-chairman of the misnamed Congressional Progressive Caucus, a group of socialist lawmakers in Congress. What social ills he cannot blame on the American system, he blames on capitalism. Not surprisingly, he supported Occupy Wall Street whose adherents committed arson, defecated on police cars, and raped fellow activists, describing the small-c communist movement’s anger as “justified.”
Ellison was a longtime member of Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam. He described Farrakhan as “a role model for black youth,” “not an anti-Semite,” and “a sincere, tireless, and uncompromising advocate of the black community and other oppressed people around the world.”
He is also a regular at events sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), two groups the Department of Justice has identified as co-conspirators in terrorism financing schemes benefiting Hamas. Ellison is unlikely to demand CAIR be investigated by the authorities anytime soon.
In 2000 Ellison delivered a speech at a fundraising event sponsored by the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. Former Weather Underground leader Bernardine Dohrn was in attendance at the event which was a fundraiser for former Symbionese Liberation Army terrorist Kathleen Soliah after her arrest in St. Paul for the attempted murder of Los Angeles police officers in 1975.
Ellison demanded Soliah’s release and described her as someone who had been “fighting for freedom in the ’60s and ’70s.” Ellison also spoke favorably of cop killer and leftist icon Mumia Abu Jamal. When Ellison won his first congressional election on Nov. 7, 2006, at his victory party several of his supporters shouted “Allahu Akbar!” which is the traditional battle cry of jihadists.