The lawmaker House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi plans to name to a House intelligence committee received political contributions from Islamist groups named as unindicted co-conspirators of terrorist organizations and once gave a speech in which he said that the U.S. education system should be based on the Koran.
Pelosi will name Democratic Indiana U.S. Rep. André Carson to the House’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, it was reported Tuesday.
Carson will be the first Muslim to hold that position. He is one of two Muslims currently in Congress.
Carson has raised eyebrows with some of his past political and religious remarks, and he’s received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign money from groups implicated in terrorism investigations.
In a May 26, 2012 speech at the 37th Annual Islamic Circle of North America-Muslim American Society Convention in Hartford, Conn., Carson spoke about how Islamic teachings would improve the U.S. education system.
“America will never tap into educational innovation and ingenuity without looking at the model that we have in our madrassas, in our schools, where innovation is encouraged, where the foundation is the Quran. And that model that we are pushing in some of our schools meets the multiple needs of students…America must understand that she needs Muslims.” (RELATED: Rep. Carson: America’s Schools Should Use Madrassas As ‘Model,’ ‘Where The Foundation Is The Koran’)
Carson backed away from those remarks, issuing a press release the same day of the speech in which he said that no religion should be the basis of education in the U.S.
According to campaign filings, Carson received a $1,000 campaign contribution in the 2014 election cycle and $5,000 during the 2008 cycle from the political action committee for the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil rights group which was named an unindicted co-conspirator of the Holy Land Foundation — a group which was found guilty in federal court of providing material support to Hamas, which the U.S. considers a terrorist group.
Carson has also received more than $30,000 in campaign contributions from individuals associated with CAIR and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which was also named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case.
The 40-year-old Carson has also drawn attention for remarks he’s made outside of the realm of religion.
“Some of these folks in Congress right now would love to see [blacks] as second class citizens. Some of them in Congress right now with this Tea Party movement would love to see you and me…hanging on a tree,” Carson said at a 2011 Congressional Black Caucus event held in Miami.
Carson is not without some qualifying credentials for the intelligence committee spot. He worked in law enforcement in Indiana from 1996 until 2005. And in 2006 he took a position with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. He was elected to Congress in 2008, filling a seat held by his grandmother, Julia Carson.