Assumed office: March 11, 2008
Preceded by: Julia Carson
Member of the Indianapolis City-County Council from the 15th district
In office: October 2007 – March 13, 2008
Preceded by: Patrice Abduallah
Succeeded by: Doris Minton-McNeill
Born: October 16, 1974 (age 40) Indianapolis, Indiana
Political party: Democratic
Spouse(s): Mariama Shaheed
Children: Salimah Carson
Residence: Indianapolis, Indiana
Alma mater: Concordia University (WI) Indiana Wesleyan University
Profession: Law enforcement officer
Website: Congressman André Carson
Caucus memberships: Carson is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, New Democrat Coalition and the youngest member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
He is the grandson of his predecessor, former U.S. Representative Julia Carson (1938–2007). Carson is the second Muslim to be elected to the United States Congress, following Keith Ellison in 2006
The district is currently represented by Democrat André Carson who won a special election in 2008 to succeed his grandmother Julia Carson following her death in 2007.
The district is one of only two congressional districts to be represented by a Muslim in the United States (the other being Keith Ellison of Minnesota's 5th congressional district, based inMinneapolis.
In the 2008 Presidential Election, Carson endorsed Senator Barack Obama in April 2008, and later won Obama's endorsement for his own May 2008 Democratic primary battle. Carson was the first member of Indiana's Congressional Delegation to announce his support for then-candidate Obama.
(Do you see any loyalty connection here?)
Early political career: Before being elected to public office, Carson was a Democratic Party Committeeperson in Indianapolis. In 2007, Carson won a special caucus of the Marion County Democratic Party to become the City-County Councilor for the 15th Council district of Indianapolis-Marion County. In November 2007 he was re-elected to that Council seat in the General Election of that year.
Education: Carson has stated his support for programs that improve teacher education and training, improve aging school infrastructure and increase access to affordable, secondary education.
Remarks on education: Carson made a speech to an Islamic group that resulted in criticism from right-wing groups when he stated that American public schools should be modelled on Islamic madrassas. He granted an interview to reporter Mary Beth Schneider of The Indianapolis Star in which he maintained his speech remarks had been taken out of context. On the same date, he issued a press release clarifying his position that no "...particular faith should be the foundation of our public schools.
On May 26, 2012, Carson told an Islamic Circle of North America convention that American schools should be modeled after Madrassas, the Islamic schools that are built on the foundations of the Quran.
“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", Carson said.
(The following description is from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Madrassas of Pakistan are Islamic seminaries in Pakistan, known as Madaris-e-Deeniya in Urdu. Most Madrasas teach mostly Islamic subjects such as Tafseer (Interpretation of Holy Quran), Hadith (thousands of sayings of Prophet Muhammad), Fiqh (Islamic Law), Arabic Language; but include some non-Islamic subjects (such as logic, philosophy, mathematics), that enable students to understand the religious ones. The number of madrassas grew dramatically during and after the reign of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, and are especially popular among Pakistan’s poorest families in part because they feed and house their students. For the majority of Saudi families they may provide "the only realistic option" to educate their sons. Estimates of the number of madrasas vary between 12,000 and 40,000. In some areas of Pakistan they outnumber the underfunded public schools.
Most madrassas in Pakistan are Sunni, follow the doctrine of the Deobandi sect. An estimated 4-10% madrassas serve the minority Shia population. Additionally there are a number of Quranacademies offering diplomas in Islamic courses. Critics have complained that many madrassas offer almost no instruction beyond the memorizing of the Koran, and that analysis of the profiles of suicide bombers who have struck in at least one region of Pakistan have found most attended madrasas.
Curriculum: In terms of religious doctrine, many of the madrasas are funded by Saudis groups and combine Deobandi ideology with "Wahhabism as reflected in the education imparted to students in Saudi Arabia government." Critics complain on intolerance in teachings as reflected in the line that "Muslim pupils in radical madrassas chant at the morning assembly: `When people deny our faith, ask them to convert and if they don't destroy them utterly.`" Other Saudi madrassas, particularly schools in Afghan refugee camps, may provide an interpretation of Islam that "blends Pushtun ideals and Deobandi views, precisely the hallmark of the Taliban." The vast expansion of madrasas during the 1980s meant a shortage of qualified teachers such that "quite a few teachers did not discern between tribal values of their ethnic group, the Pushtuns and the religious ideals."
Current political activity: Carson voted to pass legislation enacting the Troubled Asset Relief Program on October 3, 2008. He has also voted to pass legislation increasing oversight over the Troubled Asset Relief Program, limiting executive pay, reforming sub-prime mortgage markets and regulating the financial industry.
Carson is the author of H.R. 3147, the Young Adults Financial Literacy Act, which was introduced on July 9, 2009. This legislation establishes a grant program to fund partnerships between educational institutions aimed at providing financial literacy education to young adults and families.
On September 17, 2009, Carson voted to pass H.R. 3221, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which will invest in the Pell Grant program and other student financial aid programs to make college more affordable.
National security: Carson is the only Member of Congress to have served in a Department of Homeland SecurityFusion Center. He has voted to increase appropriations funding for the Department of Homeland Security.
Tea Party controversy: On March 20, 2010, Carson told reporters that health care protesters outside the Capitol hurled racial slurs at fellow Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) member Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia. Carson came off the House floor and told reporters his story about health care protesters hurling racial slurs during their walk from the Cannon Building to the chambers.Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart offered a $100,000 reward for any proof of these accusations. Although audio and video recordings of the event have been posted online, no proof has yet been provided by those who made the accusations, and the reward remains unclaimed.
On August 28, 2011, Carson told a gathering of supporters when referring to the Tea Party movement "This is the effort that we're seeing of Jim Crow," Carson said. "Some of these folks in Congress right now would love to see us as second-class citizens. Some of them in Congress right now of this Tea Party movement would love to see you and me... hanging on a tree." Carson declined calls to resign, reaffirming, "I stand on the truth of what I spoke," and clarified that his comments were directed at certain tea party leaders and not the tea party as a whole.
Personal life: Carson is a practicing Muslim. He is married to Mariama Shaheed Carson, an educator in thePike Township School District. They and their daughter, Salimah, live in Center Township in Indianapolis.