NEW YORK, July 17 (UPI) -- Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress, drew fire this week for comments about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Late last week Ellison told a Minnesota atheist group the Bush administration took advantage of the climate of fear after the destruction of the World Trade Center to expand its powers, much like Hitler was able to seize power in Germany after convincing the public Communists were responsible for the burning of the Reichstag, the New York Post reported.
Some critics said the statement amounted to accusing President George Bush of orchestrating the 9/11 attacks, since Hitler staged the Reichstag fire. That view mirrors accusations by many conspiracy theorists that the Bush administration staged the attacks for political gain, then blamed them on Muslim terrorists.
But Ellison defended his statement, saying he meant that tragedy can be taken advantage of by politicians, the newspaper said.