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First Muslim Congressman Takes Oath With Koran Owned by Thomas Jefferson


The first ever Muslim member of the U.S. Congress has taken his ceremonial oath of office with a Koran once owned by Thomas Jefferson.

Democrat Keith Ellison of the midwestern state Minnesota, borrowed the Koran from the Library of Congress.

His decision to forgo the traditional use of a Bible drew strong criticism from conservatives.

Republican Congressman Virgil Goode of the southern state Virginia wrote a letter to his constituents warning that stronger immigration controls were needed to prevent more Muslims from being elected to Congress.

Ellison is an African-American who converted to Islam while in college. His mother, a Roman Catholic who attends mass everyday, said the controversy is good because it will teach many people what diversity in America is all about.

Goode's congressional district includes the county where Jefferson lived.

Ellison took the official oath of office earlier in the week during a public ceremony for the entire 435-member House, which does not involve the use of any religious books.

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