Written by Don Byrd
Last week, the U.S. House debated and narrowly defeated a proposal to require the Pentagon to investigate “Islamic religious doctrines” that may contribute to terrorism. The measure, offered by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, was defeated 217-208, led by a sharp critique of the idea from Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN).
“If you have an amendment that says we’re going to study one religion and only one, we’re going to look at their leaders and put them on a list — only them — and you are going to talk about what’s orthodox practice and what’s unorthodox, then you are putting extra scrutiny on that religion,” said Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who is Muslim.
Ellison, who met with Franks to try to persuade him to withdraw the proposal, added: “You are abridging the free exercise of that religion. This is the wrong way to do what he’s trying to do.”
Franks defended his idea during an interview Thursday evening and said Friday he would work with his colleagues to try to modify it so it will pass eventually.
The Nation’s John Nichols has more of Ellison’s powerful remarks.