MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Rep. Keith Ellison has laid down a challenge to colleagues — including U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin — to bring a Muslim American as his guest to President Obama’s State of the Union address, according to reports from Washington.
According to The Hill, Ellison along with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) issued the request in response to what they described as a “shocking and alarming rise in hateful rhetoric against one particularly minority population.”
Ellison talked with The Hill, which covers political and policy news, about the reasons behind their request, which was reportedly made via letter delivered to other members of the U.S. House.
A number of lawmakers have said they planned to bring a Muslim guest to the Tuesday address, and one of them is Sen. Al Franken, who committed to bring the owner of a Twin Cities catering business to Washington next week.
Franken’s guest will be Abdirahman Kahin, who owns Afro Deli & Catering near the University of Minnesota’s West Bank campus and in downtown St. Paul.
The Hill reports that Ellison focused on Ryan, who he said “spoke out well against” current Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, who responded to terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California with a proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country.
Ellison made history as the first Muslim American to be elected to Congress. He was elected in Minnesota’s 6th congressional district in 2006.
Also recently, Ellison made a wager with Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) on the outcome of Sunday’s Minnesota Vikings-Seattle Seahawks game. The lawmaker whose team loses the game will have to deliver a one-minute speech on the U.S. House floor about how well the other team played.