- American-born convert to Islam
- Member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 1998
- Member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus
- Contends that the Tea Party is infested with white
racists who "would love to see" black people "hanging on a tree"
- Asserts that U.S. schools should be modeled after Islamic
See also: Congressional Progressive Caucus Congressional
Born October 16, 1974 in Indianapolis, Andre
Carson attended a Baptist church and was educated in a Catholic school. He converted
to Islam in the 1990s after his exposure to the poetry of the Sufi mystic Rumi and
The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
1996-2005, Carson worked
as a law-enforcement officer for the Indiana State Excise Police. He
earned a criminal-justice management degree from Concordia University
in 2003, and a master's degree in business management from Indiana
Wesleyan University two years later. In 2006 he took a job with
Indiana's Department of Homeland Security.
launched his political career in August 2007, when he was elected to
the city-county council of Indianapolis and Marion County. That December, Carson's grandmother, Julia, a congresswoman who had represented
Indiana's 7th District since 1997, died of lung cancer.
Three months later, Andre Carson won a special election for his
grandmother's vacant seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, thereby becoming the second Muslim member of Congress (the other was Keith Ellison). Carson has
retained that legislative seat ever since.
In the House of Representatives, Carson is a
member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional
Black Caucus (CBC), the Climate Change Caucus, the Human Rights
Caucus, the Labor and Working Families Caucus, the LGBT Equality
Caucus, and the Renewable/Efficient Energy Caucus, among others. He
also serves as the CBC liaison to the Sustainable Energy and
Environment Coalition. He established a reputation
for radicalism as a fierce opponent of the Iraq War and an avid supporter of a
government-run, universal healthcare system. For an overview of Carson's positions and votes on a
number of key political issues, click here.
March 20, 2010, Carson and fellow CBC member John Lewis made
headlines when they claimed that Tea Party
protesters who opposed healthcare reform had hurled racial slurs at them as the congressmen headed toward the
Capitol to vote on the PPACA. Specifically, Carson
that while “hundreds of people” were chanting “Kill the bill,” he had heard the “n – word” directed at him and Lewis “at
least 15 times.” The
late conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart subsequently offered a
$100,000 reward for anyone who could provide audio or video proof to
substantiate Carson's accusations. No one was ever able to provide
such evidence, and the reward went unclaimed. Moreover, a film
clip posted online by The
contradicted Carson's charge.
an August 22, 2011 Congressional Black Caucus event in Miami, Carson told
a gathering of supporters that the Tea Party was infested with white
“This is the effort that we are seeing of Jim Crow. Some of
these folks in Congress right now would love to see us [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.
Some of them right now in Congress right now are comfortable with
where we were fifty or sixty years ago. But it’s a new day with a
black president and a Congressional Black Caucus.”
May 26, 2012, Carson was a guest speaker at the 37th annual
convention of the Islamic Circle of North America/Muslim American
Society, in Hartford, Connecticut. During his remarks, Carson
that U.S. schools should be modeled after
schools infamous for their tendency to promote sexist, anti-Semitic
teachings. Said Carson:
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