Fresh from an interview dustup with the Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, the first Muslim elected to Congress still is unable to explain evidence that his association with the anti-Semitic, anti-white Nation of Islam was much closer than he has claimed.
Newspaper reports from the 1990s indicate Ellison was known as a supporter and activist for Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, even speaking on behalf of the controversial group as a “representative.”
The information and timeline provided by the newspaper reports are at odds with Ellison’s public explanation of his association with the group.
During his first campaign for Congress, in 2006, Ellison wrote a letter to the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota & the Dakotas claiming he had never been a Nation of Islam member.
Immediately after he was sworn in to Congress in 2006, he posed for photographs with then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with their hands on a copy of the Quran.
Ellison’s congressional office in Washington did not reply to a WND request for comment.
Tuesday night, Ellison was invited to talk with Hannity about the looming budget sequester, as WND reported. Responding to Hannity’s montage of President Obama’s statements about the upcoming automatic budget cuts, Ellison opened by declaring, “Quite frankly, you are the worst excuse for a journalist I’ve ever seen.” The interview went downhill from there. (See video of the interview at the end of this article).
In the letter to the Jewish group, Ellison further claimed that his association with the Nation of Islam was limited to an 18-month period in which he was helping to organize the Minnesota contingent at the 1995 Million Man March.
Ellison’s claims are contradicted by the newspaper finds, which place him as a Nation of Islam “representative” in 1997 and supporter in 1998.
In 1997, he delivered a statement for the Nation of Islam, apparently serving as the group’s spokesman while being described as a Nation of Islam “representative.”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported the episode Feb. 3, 1997. The case involved Joanne Jackson, the executive director of the Minneapolis Initiative Against Racism, or MIAR, who found herself in hot water for controversial comments about Jews.
Jackson was a Nation of Islam supporter who had been quoted as stating, “Jews are among the most racist white people I know.”
The Star Tribune reported “the appearance of Twin Cities representatives of Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam at the MIAR’s board meeting on Monday.” Among the “representatives” was Ellison, according to the report.
The article said Ellison read comments on behalf of the Nation of Islam.
The Tribune noted Ellison used his religious name of Muhammad in reading the statement to the board in defense of Jackson.
“[We] stand by Ms. Jackson,” Ellison said. “We stand by the truth contained in the remarks attributed to her, and by her right to express her view without sanction. Here is why we support Ms. Jackson: She is correct about Minister Farrakhan. He is not a racist. He is also not an anti-Semite.”
Ellison also said Farrakhan’s representatives in the Twin Cities have a “sincere desire to talk over the tensions between the black and Jewish communities with reason and truth.”
The report said the statement “also criticized the board, questioning ‘whether MIAR has the requisite understanding, knowledge or resolve to be an initiative against racism.’”
“It appears that MIAR’s first initiative against racism should be directed at itself, or at least the 11 board members who voted to dismiss Joanne Jackson,’” the Tribune said.
WND also found an April 5, 1998, article in the Star Tribune describing Ellison as a well-known Nation of Islam supporter.
“Ellison, a newcomer to DFL politics, is well-known in the black community as the former head of the Legal Rights Center and a supporter of Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam,” the article said.
Ellison’s affinity for the Nation of Islam traces back at least to his days as a law student in 1989 and 1990.
The PowerLineBlog.com reported in 2006 that Ellison had used the names Keith X Ellison and Keith Ellison-Muhammad during his student days, writing columns in a student newspaper that defended Farrakhan against accusations of anti-Semitism.
In another student column, Ellison called for a separate nation for blacks.
Minnesota Public Radio reported in 2006, during Ellison’s first run for Congress, that he was also a member of the Black Law Student Association and was criticized for sponsoring anti-Semitic speakers at the University of Minnesota.
Dan Weiss, a University of Minnesota Law School classmate of Ellison’s, told MPR at the time, “My recollections of Keith are of that person who was very much in support of the Nation of Islam and their messages they tried to convey to the larger community.”
Ellison later promoted Farrakhan’s Million Man March, appearing on stage for the speech of Nation of Islam activist and spokesman Khalid Abdul Muhammad.
In an April 2011 interview with Sean Hannity, Ellison was asked if he thought the Nation of Islam should be “investigated” by the government.
“I’m more of a constitutionalist, Sean,” Ellison said. “You and I must agree that we wouldn’t just investigate a group because we don’t agree with them. We gotta have more than that. You’d agree with that, right? Wouldn’t you agree with that?”
See Hannity’s Tuesday night interview with Ellison:
With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott