The Associated Press
pickup in Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Washington state USA)
Wednesday 20 December 2006
for Muslim letter
by FREDERIC J. FROMMER
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON -- A Republican congressman has told constituents that unless immigration is tightened, "many more Muslims" will be elected and follow the lead of a recently elected lawmaker who plans to use the Quran at his ceremonial swearing-in.
Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va., made the comments in a letter sent earlier this month to hundreds of constituents who had written to him about Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat and the first Muslim elected to Congress. Goode's letter triggered angry responses from a New Jersey congressman and an Islamic civil rights group.
In the letter, Goode wrote, "The Muslim representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran." [Entire text of Goode's letter below.]
Goode said the U.S. needs to stop illegal immigration "totally" and reduce legal immigration.
Goode added: "I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped."
Ellison was born in Detroit and converted to Islam in college. He did not return telephone messages left Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., wrote to Goode on Wednesday saying that he was "greatly disappointed and in fact startled" by Goode's letter.
"I take your remarks as personally offensive to the large community of Muslim-Americans I represent in the Eighth District of New Jersey," Pascrell wrote.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Goode to apologize.
"Representative Goode's Islamophobic remarks send a message of intolerance that is unworthy of anyone elected to public office," CAIR's national legislative director, Corey Saylor, said Tuesday night. "There can be no reasonable defense for such bigotry."
Goode spokesman Linwood Duncan said Wednesday that no apology was forthcoming.
"The only statement the congressman has is that he stands by the letter," Duncan said.
The letter was made public by John Cruickshank, the chairman of the Piedmont group of the Sierra Club in central Virginia, who had received it after writing to Goode about environmental issues. Duncan said that Goode's office had sent the letter to Cruickshank by mistake.
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Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota USA
Text of Rep. Virgil Goode's letter
This letter was sent to hundreds of constituents by the office of Republican Rep. Virgil Goode Jr. of Virginia:
Thank you for your recent communication. When I raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing In Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand. I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran. We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country. I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped.
The Ten Commandments and "In God We Trust" are on the wall in my office. A Muslim student came by the office and asked why I did not have anything on my wall about the Koran. My response was clear, "As long as I have the honor of representing the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, The Koran is not going to be on the wall of my office." Thank you again for your email and thoughts.
Virgil H. Goode, Jr.
70 E. Court St., Suite 215
Rocky Mount, Va. 24151