I do not understand the Andre Carson/Farrakhan thing

Dateline: Fri 04 Jan 2008

I've got some calls out to shed light on this, but in the meantime, I'm sure readers have thoughts and historical knowledge. Please share your insights.

With the exception of Gary Welsh at Advance Indiana leading the charge and a couple other blogs weighing in, nobody seems to question the relationship between Andre Carson's bid for his grandmother's 7th District seat and his friendship with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Those with better memories than mine will recall when Farrakhan came to Indy in the 1980s (I believe). As I recall, he was here for some sort of conference or men's meeting. His anti-Semitic agenda -- didn't he call Judaism a gutter religion? -- was openly challenged by several rabbis, including Dennis and Sandy Sasso of Beth-el Zedeck. Farrakhan is also a well-known hater of homosexuals. After Farrakhan came here, something good did result: the black and Jewish communities came together in Dialogue, a group that still exists today with black and Jewish women.

Back then, Indianapolis spoke out about the concerns of many Jews and others in the Indy community; we did not want to be associated with hatred. Yet Farrakhan was invited to Rep. Julia Carson's funeral and spoke there, allegedly at the bidding of Andre Carson, whom Farrakhan also endorsed. With friends like this, who needs enemies?

Is Andre Carson a black Muslim? Has he used the Nation of Islam members for bodyguards in the past, or did Rep. Carson? What is the relationship between the Carsons of Indianapolis and the Farrakhans of Chicago?

Why would former Rep. Andy Jacobs, a decent man, endorse Andre Carson, while these issues cloud the air? Why did no Jewish representatives or gay representatives of the greater Indy community speak at Rep. Carson's funeral?

I've heard Dems say there is going to be a real war within their party over these issues and which candidate will be slated. I really do not know much about Andre Carson, aside from what I've read in the Star (all bland) and on some blogs (mostly troubling). I was not impressed that his platform consists of ending the war in Iraq and bringing home block grants, as he told the Star. As a Democrat friend said, "that's not much of a job description."

This is not a trifling matter. I am just amazed that there has been so little attention paid to this.

Am I overreacting?


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