The latest nuttiness from DC. As reported by AP in the IHT:
BOISE, Idaho: U.S. Representative Bill Sali has apologized to a Muslim colleague for remarks suggesting the United States’ founders never intended for Muslims to serve in the U.S. Congress.
In the interview with the Christian-based American Family News Network, Sali referred to Representative Keith Ellison, who last fall became the first Muslim elected to Congress.
In the Aug. 8 report, Sali also questioned the wisdom of Senate leaders, who last month invited a Hindu clergyman to give the morning prayer.
“We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now,” Sali is quoted as saying on the network’s Web site. “Those are changes, and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers.”
The comments sparked criticism from liberal bloggers. A former Idaho Democratic congressman called for Sali to either apologize or resign.
Sali responded days later, sending Ellison an e-mail explaining he meant no offense.
So are we to understand that Muslim congressmen and Hindu prayers in the Capitol were envisioned by the Founding Fathers? That Washington and Adams — those two great enthusiasts of eastern spirituality and tandoori chicken — longed for the day when a Hindu prayer would open the Senate? That Jefferson, who sent the navy in to wipe out the (Muslim) Barbary Pirates, hoped for a Muslim in the House of Representatives?
Ellison is traveling outside the country, but his spokesman said the congressman typically does not take such remarks personally.
“We will take Bill Sali at his word,” Rick Jauert said Friday. “That would be in keeping with Keith’s turn-the-other-cheek mentality. He figures if someone has a bad day, chooses their words poorly, we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.”
I am trying to come up with some devastatingly funny remark about the “turn-the-other-cheek” line — but it’s too late in the evening. I’ll leave that for the comments. At the very least, it must take home this week’s JW award for Preposterous Irony.
“Obviously we wish it hadn’t occurred in the first place,” said Ibrahim Hooper, of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, based in Washington D.C. “But we think he did the right thing. We hope he will have learned a little more about the American Muslim community and will be more sensitive about his comments in the future.”
Ibrahim Hooper. The gift that just keeps on giving.