- 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 madrassas
See also: Congressional Progressive Caucus Congressional Black Caucus
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.
From 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.
Carson 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 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.
On 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 said 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 Washington Times contradicted Carson's charge.
At an August 22, 2011 Congressional Black Caucus event in Miami, Carson told a gathering of supporters that the Tea Party was infested with white racism:
“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.”
Anti-Israel and Pro-Islamist Track Record
On September 8, 2009, The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) announced that Carson would be a featured speaker at its 9th annual Convention on December 5 of that year.
On January 27, 2010, Carson was one of 54 Members of Congress who signed a letter calling on President Barack Obama to use diplomatic pressure to end Israel's blockade of Gaza—a blockade which had been imposed in order to prevent the importation of weaponry from Iran and Syria.
On May 26, 2012, Carson was a guest speaker at the 37th annual convention of the Muslim American Society / Islamic Circle of North America (MAS/ICNA), in Hartford, Connecticut. (Both the MAS and ICNA are closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.) During his remarks, he stated that U.S. schools should be modeled after madrassas—Islamic schools infamous for their tendency to promote sexist, anti-Semitic teachings. Said Carson: “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.”
Between January 2008 and June 2014, Carson received 55 separate political donations (totaling nearly $34,000 altogether) from Islamists affiliated with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim American Society, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
In a June 2012 speech to the ICNA Mosque in Hartford, Connecticut, Carson lamented: “It is very true that all of us [Muslims] are under tremendous strain right now -- 9/11 was tough on Muslims. Those of us who were in the workplace faced exacerbated prejudice, unrelenting bias, and in many cases, some of us were terminated from our jobs. It was tough to be a Muslim in the workplace.” Adding that Muslims in America were “under attack,” the congressman emphasized that the followers of Islam, who “have been a part of America since the inception of America,” “must not retreat.” Carson also directed some remarks to anyone in the audience who might have been attending the ICNA event “under-cover,” in an effort to determine whether any of the speakers were promoting a malevolent message. To multiple rounds of applause, Carson said: “Now, it is unfortunate that there are those who are thinking that at this convention right now were having secret meetings, that were plotting to destroy this country, but I say to those who are here under-cover, Allah will not allow you to stop us.”
At an MAS/ICNA Convention held in Chicago in December 2014, Carson was scheduled to participate on a panel alongside MAS national executive director Mazen Mokhtar, who, according to the sworn testimony of federal agents, at one time facilitated the operation of an Al-Qaeda website that raised funds for the Taliban. The panel in which Carson and Mokhtar were slated to speak was titled “Ferguson Is Our Issue: We Can’t Breathe.” The references in that title were to two 2014 events that left-wing activists falsely depicted as instances of deadly, racially motivated police violence against African Americans. For background information on both of those events, click here.
Ultimately, Carson did not in fact participate in the December 2014 panel. After the MAS/ICNA Convention, the congressman released a statement saying: "Any reference to my participation or appearance on the Ferguson panel during the ICNA conference is not factual. As a former law enforcement officer with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security in the anti-terrorism unit, it is critical that Americans know that I would never associate with any individual or organization trying to harm the United States of America or its citizens."
Appointment to House Intelligence Committee
In a closed-door meeting on January 13, 2015, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced that "in the coming days" she would name Carson to the House’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, making him the first Muslim to serve on that panel. At the time, Carson was already a member of the House Armed Services Committee. In addition, he had previously worked for the Department of Homeland Security’s Fusion Center—the clearinghouse in charge of streamlining the data-sharing process between the CIA, FBI, Department of Justice, and military.