Keith Maurice Ellison (born August 4, 1963) is an American lawyer and politician who became the first Muslim to be elected to the United States Congress when he won the vacant seat for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district in the House of Representatives, one of eight congressional districts in Minnesota. He is also the first African American elected to the House from Minnesota. Ellison is also active on a national level in advocacy for Muslims in the United States.
With his victory to the United States House of Representatives Ellison became the first Muslim elected to the Federal Government and the highest Muslim elected official in the United States. Ellison joins State Del. Saqib Ali (D-MD), State Senator Larry Shaw (D-North Carolina), and State Rep. Saghir “Saggy” Tahir (R-New Hampshire) as the only elected Muslim officials in the United States of America as of 2006. Ellison’s election has been seen as inspirational to American Muslims, encouraging civic empowerment through participation in the political process. Ellison generally downplayed his religious affiliation during the general election, but since winning the congressional race he has become active in advocacy for Islamic causes on a national level.
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