U.S. Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim to be elected to Congress, and Irshad Manji, director of the Moral Courage Project at NYU Wagner, will come together Thursday, September 15, in Washington, D.C. to discuss religious freedom, possibilities for reform in Islam, and the paths being taken by American Muslims in the context of a post-9/11 rise in bias against Muslims.
The annual Bernard and Irene Schwartz Lecture on Congress is sponsored jointly by the Library of Congress and the John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress at New York University. Open to the press and general public, this event begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Members Room of the Jefferson Building, 10 First Street, SE, Washington, D.C.
Congressman Keith Maurice Ellison is a second-term U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 5th congressional district centered in Minneapolis. He is a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. A trailblazer in Americans politics, he is the first Muslim to be elected to the Congress and the highest Muslim elected official in the United States as well as the first African American elected to the House from Minnesota. Since his election, he has become known as an advocate for American Muslims and has a strong record on human and civil rights issues at home and abroad.
Irshad Manji is director of the Moral Courage Project at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University and senior scholar with the European Foundation for Democracy. Deepak Chopra describes her as "the new voice of reform, not only for Islam but for all religions." Her book, The Trouble with Islam Today, has been published in 31 languages and became an international best-seller. Manji has just released her sequel: Allah, Liberty and Love. In it, she paves a path to reconciling faith and freedom -- and she does so by showing us all how to develop "moral courage," the willingness to speak up when everyone else wants to shut you up. Wherever her work is banned, Manji reaches readers by posting free-of-charge translations on her website, irshadmanji.com.