"The baseless and slanderous accusations by Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann -- attacking honorable Muslim-Americans in government service working on behalf of the American people, including my dear friend and colleague Congressman Keith Ellison -- are malicious and bigoted. This transparent tactic of manufacturing unsubstantiated claims to draw media attention goes beyond incivility by an elected representative; it extends into the realm of abnormal behavior.
"It is truly important for Americans of all faiths to reject the hatred, intolerance, and bigotry this shameful episode represents. We live in a country in which Muslims, Christians, Jews, Mormons, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and people of all faiths live together in towns, cities, and suburbs as Americans who share common values and work together for a better future.
"No one in Congress is more passionate, committed, and forgiving than my brother from Minneapolis, Keith Ellison. He has a heart of gold and a spirit that hungers for justice and righteousness. I am proud to call him a friend and colleague, but I am also proud to stand with him in the face of these hateful accusations.
"In the midst of this unfortunate atmosphere is the start of a very special and important time of year for Muslims. Today marks the start of Ramadan -- the Muslim holy month. For all Muslims this is a time of fasting, prayer, and family. It is a time for spiritual renewal with God -- Allah -- and within their community. I would like to respectfully and warmly wish my Muslim friends, colleagues, and all Muslims in Minnesota and across the U.S. a blessed, holy, and peaceful Ramadan."