Obama touches on Ellison in Cairo speech

Devin Henry

President Obama alluded to Rep. Keith Ellison in his much-discussed speech at Cairo University in Egypt today.

Ellison, the first Muslim-American elected to Congress, is a Democrat who represents Minnesota’s 5th District, which includes Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota.

Rep. Keith Ellison

"When the first Muslim-American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers — Thomas Jefferson — kept in his personal library," Obama said in the speech.

Ellison told the Star Tribune he wasn’t surprised the President mentioned the incident in one of the biggest speeches of Obama’s young presidency.

"He was trying to say there’s no bright line separating the Muslim world and the west, that there’s this cross-fertilization," Ellison said.