Ellison and the Koran

ELLISON AND THE KORAN….What do you do if you’re a newly-elected Muslim congressman who’s been criticized for taking the oath of office on a Koran instead of a Bible? You do what Keith Ellison is planning to do. As the Washington Post reports, Ellison won’t be using just any old copy of the Koran:

We’ve learned that the new congressman — in a savvy bit of political symbolism — will hold the personal copy once owned by Thomas Jefferson….Jefferson’s copy is an English translation by George Sale published in the 1750s; it survived the 1851 fire that destroyed most of Jefferson’s collection and has his customary initialing on the pages.

Good for Ellison. Sounds like he’s a pretty smart cookie.

As long as we’re on the subject, I have to say that this is one of the least explicable “controversies” I’ve had the pleasure to encounter in the past couple of months. If you had asked me before this episode erupted what book Muslims use to take the oath of office, I would have immediately answered that they’d use a Koran. A Jew? Probably a copy of the Hebrew Bible or the Torah. A Catholic? A copy of the Catholic Bible. Etc. It wouldn’t even have occurred to me that they should use anything other than the holy book of their own faith.

But it sure occurred to a few other people who are permanently tuned into the outrage machine. The fever swamp may be small, but it’s mighty deep, isn’t it?