Andre Carson is a democratic representative from Indiana, and is also a Muslim. When he was invited to speak at the Islamic Circle of North America Convention, he made comments that drew applause from Muslims, but later perplexed those not supportive of the Islamic religion.
“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,” he stated. “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,” he continued. “And while we are under attack, we must not retreat.”
When Carson’s comments stirred up conversation in the media, he released a statement in an attempt to bring clarification.
“My remarks at ICNA call attention to the fact that faith-based schools throughout this country have excelled because of innovative instructional methods and a willingness to engage different learning styles – whether visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. While I do not believe that any particular faith should be the foundation of our public schools, it is important that we take note of the instructional tools these schools utilize to empower their young people,” he wrote. “Christian, Jewish, and Islamic schools have experienced notable success by casting off a one-size-fits-all approach to education, and this is a model we must replicate. … If we are going to take American education to the next level, we must expand successful models and implement the practices that will enable success for our students.”
Carson also created controversy last year while speaking to a group of supporters about the nation’s Tea Party movement. “This is the effort that we’re seeing of Jim Crow. Some of them in Congress right now of this Tea Party movement would love to see you and me… hanging on a tree,” he said. Carson later stated that his comments pertained to various leaders of the Tea Party movement and not all of its followers.
Prior to serving in Congress, Carson served as a police officer for the Indiana State Excise Police and later worked with the state Department of Homeland Security, overseeing the organization’s anti-terrorism unit. His wife serves as the principal of the Snacks Crossing Elementary School in Indianapolis.
UPDATE: According to the Washington Examiner, “asked if he believes American public school curricula should be based on the Quran, Carson said, ‘No, no no.’” However, numerous news organizations are reporting on his controversial remarks that seemed to infer otherwise.