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. (Her close friend, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, delivered the eulogy at her funeral service.) 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 first was Keith Ellison). Carson has retained that legislative seat ever since.
In the House of Representatives, Carson has been 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 has served as the CBC liaison to the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition. And he established a reputation as a fierce opponent of the Iraq War and an avid supporter of a government-run, universal healthcare system.
On March 20, 2010, Carson and fellow CBC member John Lewis made headlines when they claimed that conservative 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.
In May 2010, Carson told a Washington Times reporter that the Tea Party represented “one of the largest threats to our internal security … I mean terrorism has an Islamic face, but it really comes from racial supremacist groups.”
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.”
In 2013 Carson joined New York Rep. Gregory Meeks and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison in attending a dinner hosted by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, where Nation Of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan was also on hand. In December 2016 Carson and Ellison together visited Farrakhan in his hotel room.
Further Reading: “Andre Carson” (Ballotpedia.org, Votesmart.org, Keywiki.org); “Muslim Running for Congress Wants to Combat Ignorance about His Faith” (The Sun, 2-13-2008); “Video Appears to Dispute Lawmaker’s Claim of Protesters’ Racial Slurs” (3-20-2010); “Rep. Andre Carson: Tea Party Protesters Are ‘One of the Largest Threats to our Internal Security’” (Breitbart.com, 5-6-2010); “Rep. Andre Carson: Tea Party Wants To See Blacks ‘Hanging On A Tree’” (ABC News, 8-31-2011); “Revealed: Three Democrats Attended Private Dinner with Iran’s President and Louis Farrakhan” (Daily Caller, 2-9-2018); “The Four Democrats Who Met with Farrakhan and Still Won’t Renounce Him” (Daily Caller, 3-10-2018); “Seven House Democrats Have Direct Ties to Notorious Anti-Semite [Farrakhan]” (Daily Caller, 3-5-2018).
In 2008, Carson attended a conference held by the Islamic Society of North America.
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.”
Over the years, Carson has received many donations from high-ranking officials and/or board members of Islamist organizations. Specifically, from 2002-2019 he received a total of $74,909 in contributions from individuals affiliated with the SAAR Foundation (SAFA Trust Group), the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Islamic Circle of North America, Council on American-Islamic Relations, the North American Islamic Trust, the International Institute of Islamic Thought, the Muslim American Society, the Muslim Students Association, the Islamic Association for Palestine, and the American Muslims for Palestine.
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.
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.”
After Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar in 2018 became the first two Islamic women ever elected to Congress, Carson in January 2019 spoke at a Council on American-Islamic Relations event where he lauded his fellow Muslim legislators and predicted that many more would be elected in the coming years:
“Voters across the country showed up and showed out. They did so much that they elected our brother, Superman Keith Ellison, to be attorney general. Yeah. They left Batman and I felt all alone. And then all of a sudden I looked in the sky and saw Wonder Woman come out of nowhere. And then I looked on the other side and I saw Storm from the X-Men come out of nowhere. And we’ve got firepower in Congress. We’ve got sister Rashida [Tlaib] in the House, and she’s tough. She’s the kind of sister you take to a debate with scholars with you, because she’ll rock the house. She’s also the kind of sister you take with you if you’re about to get jumped, because she’ll fight too. That sister’s tough. Love her dearly. And we should stand with her…. It’s more than just about having three Muslims in Congress. I think symbolically it has great value, but I won’t rest until 2020 we have five more members of Congress; 2022 and ’24, we have 10 more Muslims in Congress. In 2030 we may have about 30, 35 Muslims in Congress. Then we’re talking about Madame Chair Rashida. We’re talking about Madame Chair Ilhan. Hell, we could be saying Speaker of the House Ilhan, Speaker of the House Rashida, Senator Rashida, Governor Ilhan, President Fatima, Vice President Aziza. Inshallah [God willing].”
Further Reading: “Two Reps Attended Muslim Brotherhood Front Event” (The Clarion Project, 6-30-2016); “Congressman Andre Carson To Be Featured Speaker At MPAC’s 9th Annual Convention” (GlobalMBWatch.com, 9-8-2009); “U.S. Reps in Support of Lifting the Gaza Blockade” (Keywiki.org); “Rep. Carson: America’s Schools Should Use Madrassas as ‘Model’, ‘Where the Foundation Is the Koran’” (Daily Caller, 7-5-2012); “Recipient Name: Andre Carson” (Islamist Money in Politics/Islamist Watch); “Muslim U.S. Congressman Laments: ‘9-11 Was Tough On Muslims,’ Islam In America Is ‘Under Attack, But Must Not Retreat” (The Blaze, 7-12-2012); “Muslim Congressman’s Ferguson Panel at Chicago Islamic Convention Features Al-Qaeda Webmaster, Taliban Fundraiser” (by Patrick Poole, PJ Media, 12-27-2014); “Carson Statement on Attending the ICNA Chicago Convention” (12-31-2014); “Congressman Envisions Over 30 Muslim Reps in Congress by 2030” (Daily Caller, 1-12-2019).
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.
Further Reading: “Pelosi to Name First Muslim Lawmaker to House Intelligence Committee” (Politico.com, 1-13-2015); “Carson Appointed to House Intelligence Committee” (1-14-2015).
In the summer of 2015, Carson backed the nuclear deal that the Obama administration negotiated with Iran—an agreement allowing the terrorist regime in Tehran to inspect its own Parchin nuclear weapons research site, conduct uranium enrichment, build advanced centrifuges, buy ballistic missiles, fund terrorism, and have a near-zero breakout time to a nuclear bomb. Carson had previously received financial support from the Iran Lobby, i.e., the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC).
Further Reading: “Traitor Senators Took Money from Iran Lobby, Back Iran Nukes” (By Daniel Greenfield, 8-15-2015).
For an overview of Carson’s voting record on a variety of key issues, click here.