An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Thomas Jefferson's Koran for Congressman Ellison's Oath!

Remember that spat between Keith Ellison and Goode about the former’s use of Koran for his oath-taking? Well it has taken a new turn. Since Mr. Ellison (the first Muslim Congressman) was bent upon using Koran to take his oath, and Goode was drumming up his “Islam is a threat to American Values” campaign.. Ellison came out with a master-stroke.. as masterly as it can possibly get!! He will use the Koran that was owned by.. the creator of the US constitution and the founding father of the country – Thomas Jefferson himself!!

So, here he is using the copy of the holy book that Thomas Jefferson – a Virginian no less – trying to put the point of Religious Tolerance that the founding fathers demo-ed in stark contrast to today’s conservative intolerance!!

“He wanted to use a Koran that was special,” said Mark Dimunation, chief of the rare book and special collections division at the Library of Congress, who was contacted by the Minnesota Dem early in December. Dimunation, who grew up in Ellison’s 5th District, was happy to help.

Jefferson’s copy is an English translation by George Sale published in the 1750s; it survived the 1851 fire that destroyed most of Jefferson’s collection and has his customary initialing on the pages. This isn’t the first historic book used for swearing-in ceremonies — the Library has allowed VIPs to use rare Bibles for inaugurations and other special occasions.

Ellison will take the official oath of office along with the other incoming members in the House chamber, then use the Koran in his individual, ceremonial oath with new Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Keith is paying respect not only to the founding fathers’ belief in religious freedom but the Constitution itself,” said Ellison spokesman Rick Jauert.

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