Rosen falsely called U.S. Rep.-elect Ellison "a follower of Louis Farrakhan"
Research ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
During his Newsradio 850 KOA show, host Mike Rosen falsely described U.S. Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress, as "a follower of Louis Farrakhan." While Ellison has acknowledged his past association with the Nation of Islam, he has since denounced the organization because of its "anti-Semitic statements and actions."
During the December 8 broadcast of his show, Newsradio 850 KOA host Mike Rosen called U.S. Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN) "a follower of Louis Farrakhan," the Nation of Islam leader whom the Anti-Defamation League notes "has long expressed anti-Semitic and anti-white rhetoric, that mark him as a notable figure on the extremist scene." In fact, as the Chicago Tribune reported on June 30 (accessed through the Nexis database), "Ellison has vigorously denounced the Nation of Islam and Farrakhan."
From the December 8 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Mike Rosen Show:
ROSEN: Keith Ellison will be a congressman -- a member of the U.S. House -- from the state of Minnesota, who will be seated in January when the new Congress takes power. And he is a -- a Muslim. He's a convert to the religion, a follower of Louis Farrakhan. And he's the one who's created quite a bit of controversy when he said that he will not take his oath of office with his hand on a Bible -- he'd rather take his oath of office with his hand on the Quran. Dennis Prager, a conservative talk show host and columnist, has criticized Keith Ellison for that. He says it undermines American culture and civilization, and would prefer that Ellison take his oath of office with his hand on a Bible. I'll part company with Dennis Prager on that. I would -- I would certainly respect Keith Ellison's right to take his oath of office without putting his hand on a -- on a Bible. Although, my preference would be that he use a Bible rather than the Quran.
While Ellison has acknowledged an association with the Nation of Islam in the 1990s, he denounced Farrakhan and Nation of Islam in a May 28, 2006, letter to the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas:
I saw in the Nation of Islam, and specifically the Million Man March, an effort to promote African-American self-sufficiency, personal responsibility, and community economic development. I did not adequately scrutinize the positions and statements of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, and Khalid Muhammed. I wrongly dismissed concerns that they were anti-Semitic. They were and are anti-Semitic and I should have come to that conclusion earlier than I did. I regret that I didn't. But at no time did I ever share their hateful views or repeat or approve of their hateful statements directed at Jews, gays or any other group.
Ellison also stated in the letter, "I have long since distanced myself from and rejected the Nation of Islam due to its propagation of bigoted and anti-Semitic ideas and statements, as well as other issues ... and I reject and condemn the anti-Semitic statements and actions of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, and Khalid Muhammed."
As the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on November 13, Ellison "will carry into office the hopes of Muslims and the expectations of a home district that includes half of Minnesota's Jewish population and plenty of urban problems." A November 8 BBC article noted that during Ellison's campaign, he "was supported by the National Jewish Democratic Council as well as a prominent Minneapolis Jewish newspaper, which endorsed him over his Republican rival Alan Fine, who is Jewish."
Later in the show, Rosen seemingly questioned whether Ellison could "ethically and morally hold office" in describing Rosen's own understanding of the role of the Judeo-Christian tradition in American public life:
ROSEN: One of the reasons that traditionally people have taken oaths -- either serving as witnesses in trials or defendants, or being sworn in with the oath of office as president or a member of Congress -- one of the reasons people have put their hands on a, on the Judeo-Christian Bible -- which includes the Old Testament and the New -- is that this is one of the foundations of Western civilization, and it's also one of the foundational sources of our law. Moses was known as the lawgiver. The Ten Commandments have -- have had a great deal of influence over the creation of law in Western society. So it's consistent with that part of our society that qualifies as Caesar's element -- render unto Caesar what is Caesar's -- for people who serve in law-making and governing capacities to take an oath consistent with our foundation. For those who really believe that the Constitution is blasphemy, at least in parts when it conflicts with Islam -- these people have a right to their religious beliefs and they can operate in our society. But the question is, can they ethically and morally hold office?