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By the Book

Claim:   A newly-elected Muslim Congressman took his oath of office on the Quran instead of the Bible.

Status:   Partly true.

Example:[Collected via e-mail, 2006]

A first for America ...The Koran replaces the Bible at swearing-in oath

What book will America base it's values on, the Bible or the Koran?

Please take a moment to read the following TownHall.com column by Dennis Prager, who is a Jew. After reading the column, please forward it to your friends and family.



America, Not Keith Ellison, decides what book a congressman takes his oath on

Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran.

He should not be allowed to do so — not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.

[Rest of article here.]

Origins:   In November 2006, Democrat Keith Ellison won election to the House as a representative of his Minnesota congressional district. When Ellison took office in January 2007, he became the first Muslim member of Congress.

In November 2006, some Americans took offense at Ellison's announcement that he planned to utilize the Quran rather than the Bible at the upcoming Congressional
swearing-in ceremonies. (The controversy has since mistakenly become associated with Illinois Senator Barack Obama, who is not a Muslim and did not use a Quran in conjunction with a Congressional ceremony.) Among the many who criticized Ellison's announcement was Los Angeles-based talk radio host Dennis Prager, who penned the above-cited editorial in which he opined that Representative-elect Ellison "should not be to take his oath of office on the bible of Islam, the Koran" and that "if you are incapable of taking an oath on [the Bible], don't serve in Congress."
swearing-inRepresentatives — incoming
When newly elected members of Congress raise their right hands to take the oath of office in January, they won't be placing their left hands on the Bible or any other religious text.

During official swearing-in ceremonies, newly elected members don't place their hand on any book. However, individual members may choose to carry a sacred text.

"Some members carry a Bible. You don't actually put your hand on a Bible. I can't see how anyone would object to carrying a Qur'an," said Senate historian Don Ritchie.

In Congress, the House speaker administers the oath to members en masse on the House floor. It's up to individual members if they want to hold a religious text, said Fred Beuttler, House deputy historian.

First-time members are more likely to carry a sacred text or have their family and religious leader present for a staged ceremony in the speaker's or their own office, Beuttler said.

A rebuttal to Dennis Prager's editorial written by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh was by the .
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