In the minds of many Islam and terrorism are synonymous. Many Americans look at the Middle East through us vs. them lenses and for see ongoing holy war. Many speak of this in cosmic terms -- no longer east versus west but now Christian/Jewish versus Islam. On the other side of the coin many see the US as the Great Satan.
In to the middle of all this steps Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN). A freshman congressman he is being closely scrutinized, with people watching to see if he's "sleeping with the enemy." I have written before in support of him on this blog and elsewhere, and from what I can see he's done his job well.
He'd rather not be our roving good will ambassador to the Islamic world -- he'd instead like to work on protecting people from predatory lenders and represent the people of his district -- Muslim and non-Muslim. But at a time when America is deeply embedded in two wars in Muslim lands, it is not possible to simply focus on such things.
An article at the Politico website details his good works -- though as you read the comments you will see that bigotry against Muslims runs strong in this country of ours. But Keith is doing the right thing the right way!