Magazine article American Libraries

Congressman Takes Oath on Thomas Jefferson's Koran

Magazine article American Libraries

Congressman Takes Oath on Thomas Jefferson's Koran

Article excerpt

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) became the first Muslim member of Congress January 4 and memorialized the event by taking a ceremonial oath on a Koran once owned by President Thomas Jefferson. Ellison had asked the Library of Congress in December to use the two-volume set that is part of its Jefferson Collection. The library often provides historic bibles, such as the one Lincoln used at his inauguration, for use on ceremonial occasions.

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Accompanied by a guard, Rare Book and Special Collections Division Chief Mark Dimunation carried the two volumes in a plain box through a maze of underground tunnels to the ceremonial hall in the Capitol building where Ellison was to be sworn in. "Large numbers of people were aware of who we were and what we were doing," he told American Libraries. "When we went through the security system at the Capitol, one of the policemen walked up and asked to see the books. …

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