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Virginia Congressman Faces Criticism Over Remarks About Muslims


A U.S. congressman is being criticized for saying that stronger immigration measures are needed to prevent more Muslims from being elected to Congress.

Congressman Virgil Goode, a Republican from the southern state of Virginia, made the comment in a letter to constituents. He was responding to questions about Keith Ellison, who in November became the first Muslim elected to Congress.

Goode ridiculed Ellison's decision to use the Koran during a private swearing-in ceremony. In his letter, the congressman said that unless stricter immigration measures are adopted, many more Muslims will be elected and will demand to use the Koran.

Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat, was born in the United States and converted to Islam while in college.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Goode to apologize, saying his remarks send a message of intolerance that is unworthy of anyone elected to public office. But a spokesman for the congressman says he stands by the comments.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.