Thomas Jefferson’s Quran

Cultural property may often be used for present-day political purposes. NPR’s All Things Considered has a nice piece on Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress. He announced last month that he wanted to be sworn in with a Quran. A slew of criticism ensued, and Ellison responded by announcing he plans to use a copy of the Quran once owned by Thomas Jefferson. It was a very smart political move, especially considering Jefferson helped to create America’s religious toleration. He considered his writing of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom one of his three most important life accomplishments.

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