Islam convert seeks a seat in Congress

Political newcomer Andre Carson is the Democratic nominee in a March 11 special election to succeed his late grandmother, Julia Carson, representing Indiana’s 7th District. She died in December of lung cancer, and her grandson is seeking to fill out the rest of her sixth term, which expires at year’s end.

If Andre Carson wins the Democratic-leaning Indianapolis district over a freshman Republican lawmaker and a longshot Libertarian candidate, he would join Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat, as the only Muslims elected to Congress.

Mr. Carson, 33, said he doesn’t believe his religious identity hurts him politically even while American Muslims struggle to gain acceptance. Polling last summer by the Pew Research Center and Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found 29 percent of Americans held unfavorable views of Muslim Americans, a higher percentage than shortly after September 11, 2001.

“I think it’s more of an advantage,” Mr. Carson said. “It’s a platform to address ignorance. It’s a platform to really show that this campaign is about inclusion of all races and religions.”

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