Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, at the request of Bush W. and Obama administrations, has taken to the international stage to champion the commitment of the United States to religious diversity.
He has also talked about the recent Muslim center that is planned to go near Ground Zero. He explained why Democrats shouldn't fear the debate about whether to allow a moderate Muslim group to build their Islamic Center.
Ellison said that stopping the building of the Muslim center would threaten religious liberty in the U.S., and associate all Muslims with the 9/11 attacks.
"There's also a more important principle at work here. And that is that the transnational terrorists who committed this outrageous act on 9/11, they are arguing that America is at war with Islam. The way to undermine and counteract that false narrative is to stand on our sacredly held beliefs of religious liberty. That's how we demonstrate that, no, America is a country ... for everyone where people worship as they see fit. The problem with stopping this Islamic center is that it implies that the Muslim world is responsible for it, when it was al Qaeda that was responsible."
"The truth is that we're a party of principle. We believe in the idea of religious liberty."
Despite Republican's negative position on the Muslim center, Ellison said that Democrats can and should position themselves as the party that respects the whole Constitution -- including the part about "freedom of religion."
My Muslim Congressman is also for equal rights for gay people and has spoken on gay rights in mosques to Muslims.