Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim-American member of Congress, responded to a new report Wednesday that the federal government spied on five American citizens who are Muslim and have apparently committed no acts of wrongdoing, calling such actions "troubling" and "wrong."
"Suspicious behavior indicating criminal behavior should be the basis for attracting law enforcement surveillance — not a person's religion. Profiling based on religion breeds distrust and resentment in communities that are potential partners in the fight against crime," the Minnesota Democrat said in a statement.
Ellison also responded to an ethnic slur that security officials used as a placeholder for a potential Muslim target, which was included in The Intercept's report: "Mohammed Raghead." Ellison called the "use of hateful anti-Muslim training materials" evidence of religious profiling by the U.S. government and warned of severe consequences. "Undue surveillance has a chilling effect in all communities. It tells young boys and girls who want to serve their country in the military or in elected office to stay out of the public space. This is wrong. We cannot allow fear and hatred to drown the inclusive promise of our nation," he wrote.