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First Muslim congressman holds surprise Q&A session on Reddit

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Representative Keith Ellison (DFL-Minn.), the first Muslim elected to United States Congress, invited Reddit users to Ask Him Anything (AMA) on Thursday.

His unscheduled appearance on Reddit came at a time of renewed tension between Americans and Muslims abroad, after Islamic extremists murdered four U.S. officials in Libya, including an ambassador, on Tuesday.

Though he didn’t touch on Libya, or any specific current events in the Middle East, Ellison talked at length about his experience both as a Muslim in America and a member of Congress.

Here are some of the highlights from Ellison's surprise Q&A session:

Is it difficult for you to interact with [fellow Minnesotan] Rep. Bachmann on a personal level due to her repeated insinuations of "Islamic infiltration" of our country and her many demeaning and ignorant comments? (ah102886)

no. no personal problems.

Do you feel that, as a Muslim, you and your family are watched more closely by your local media? (Black_Delphinium)

no, i feel that my family and i have been treated with respect and fairness. i know many people who have reported unfair treatment, and disrespectful treatment, but that has not been my experience. also, in cases where there has been bigoted or hateful treatment, interfaith groups have stepped forward. for example. when Terry Jones protested in Dearborn to incite against the Muslim community there, a multitude of people of all faiths stood and said "no." so, thanks for asking and please go out and build interfaith understanding

How many of your colleagues who espouse bigotry in public will, behind closed doors, privately acknowledge that it's an act to win votes in parts of the country where that shtick is effective? (MilitantManatee)

Most of my colleagues, D and R, are extremely respectful and kind. Some knuckleheads tho.

What was it like to be on Colbert's Better know a District? (Wring72)

Colbert is a cut-up, isn't he? It was really fun doing the "Better Know a District". Before we started, Colbert leaned into me and said "I'm about to become a very different guy". He was right. Real fun.

What was it like taking oath on Thomas Jefferson's Quran? (andrewsmith1986)

fun. inspiring. weighty.

Photo via Keith.Ellison/Facebook