Democrats defend naming Muslim to House Intelligence panel

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Rep. Andre Carson Muslim on House Intel
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Democrats defend naming Muslim to House Intelligence panel
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio administers a re-enactment of the House oath to Rep. André Carson, D-Ind., left, with his family, during a ceremonial re-enactment swearing-in ceremony, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, in the Rayburn Room on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Democratic Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., thanks supporters as he celebrates winning reelection in Indiana's 7th Congressional district against Republican Carlos Andrew May at an election night celebration in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Carson's wife Mariama Carson is at the right. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio reenacts the swearing in of Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Democratic Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., thanks supporters as he celebrates winning reelection in Indiana's 7th Congressional district against Republican Carlos Andrew May at an election night celebration in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., celebrates his re-election with supporters at the Indiana Democratic Party election night event in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. Carson defeated Republican challenger Gabrielle Campo. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., celebrates his re-election at the Indiana Democratic Party election night event in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. Carson defeated Republican challenger Gabrielle Campo in the Indiana 7th congressional district race. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., right, administers the House oath during a mock swearing-in ceremony for Rep. Andre Caroson, D-Ind., Thursday, March 13, 2008, on Capitol Hill in Washington Thursday, March 13, 2008. Carson's wife Mariama Shaheed-Carson holds the Bible at center. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook)
Democrat Andre Carson talks to his supporters as he celebrates his win over GOP challenger Jon Elrod in Indiana's 7th Congressional District special election in Indianapolis, Tuesday, March 11, 2008. His wife, Mariamah, holds his daughter Salimah are at right. Carson is the grandson of the late U.S. Rep. Julia Carson. (AP Photo/Tom Strattman)
** FILE ** Democrat Andre Carson, shown in this March 11, 2008 file photo as he celebrates his win over GOP challenger Jon Elrod in Indiana's 7th congressional district special election in Indianapolis, Tuesday, March 11, 2008. Carson is the second Muslim ever elected to Congress. Carson, Indiana's newest congressman, won a special election in March to fill out the remainder of his late grandmother's term. But he faces a crowded ballot in the state's May 6 primary, and despite support for Carson from state and national Democrats, it's a complicated race to predict. (AP Photo/Tom Strattman, File)
**ADVANCE FOR FRIDAY FEB. 15** Andre Carson speaks during a Martin Luther King Day prayer service in Indianapolis, Monday, Jan. 21, 2008. The political newcomer is the Democratic Party's nominee in a special election to succeed his grandmother, Julia Carson, who was in her sixth term representing Indiana's 7th Congressional District when she died Dec. 15. If he prevails in the Democratic-leaning Indianapolis district, Carson would join Rep. Keith Ellison as the only Muslims elected to Congress. (AP Photo/Tom Strattman)
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., walks with, from left. Reps. Steny Hoyer, D-Md, John Lewis, D-Ga., Andre Carson, D-Ind., 2nd right, and John Larson, D-Conn., before Congress is set to vote on health care reform legislation on Sunday, March 21, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
Vice President Joe Biden, second from left, walks from Air Force Two along with, from left. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., and Rep. Baron Hill, D-Ind., as they greeted President Barack Obama after he arrived aboard Air Force One, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010, at Grissom Air Reserve Base in Peru, Ind. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Top Democrats are defending their appointment of a Muslim congressman to the House Intelligence Committee after protests erupted on social media, warning the move is dangerous.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi this week appointed Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana to the panel, which oversees the government's intelligence departments and activities. Much of the business that comes before the committee is classified.

Anti-Muslim protests erupted on Twitter and other social media with complaints that exposing American secrets to Carson could be dangerous.

Democrats widely rejected that view. Pelosi said Carson is the only member of Congress to have served in a Department of Homeland Security Fusion Center, which provides intelligence sharing and training across levels of government. Carson also serves on the House Armed Services Committee.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the panel, called the protests un-American. He said including Muslim Americans in public policy issues is "an essential element in preventing the kind of alienation that has made too many young European Muslims vulnerable to extremism."

Rep. Joseph Crowley of New York, vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus, called on his colleagues to renounce the attacks.

"We will never be able to grow as a society if we allow this kind of hatred and division to go unchecked," Crowley wrote in a letter to his colleagues.

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