Ellison Gets an Apology From Critical Colleague

August 16, 2007


Source: TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press


WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Bill Sali has apologized to the nation's first Muslim congressman, whose election Sali deemed in an interview as "not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers."

The Idaho Republican has exchanged conciliatory e-mails with U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat who became the first Muslim in Congress last year. Both Sali and Ellison were elected in 2006.

Ellison was out of the country, so Sali was unable to call him, said Sali's spokesman, Wayne Hoffman. Instead, he sent an e-mail and the two exchanged correspondence that was "very pleasant and cordial in nature," Hoffman said.

"He was hopeful that Congressman Ellison understands he meant no disrespect or harm from his comment, and that he hoped that he would meet with him when he returned to Washington, D.C.," Hoffman said.

Sali's comments were first reported on the Christian-themed Web site, American Family News Network. His interview was then picked up by liberal bloggers who disagreed with what Sali said about Ellison - as well as what he said about a Hindu prayer opening the U.S. Senate.

The comments Sali made in the interview took on a life of their own, Hoffman said, with people "trying to twist it and spin it into something that is horrible. What we have now is bloggers quoting bloggers who are quoting other bloggers."

Ellison's spokesman said his boss understands that people sometimes misspeak or say the wrong thing, or don't make their intent as clear as they want to.