By Martin Matishak - 01/16/15 12:02 PM EST
The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee on Friday said conservative attacks on Democratic Rep. André Carson (Ind.), who is a Muslim, are “un-American.”
“I am deeply disturbed that since his appointment to the committee, Congressman Carson has been subject to vicious, anti-Muslim attacks online and in social media, questioning his loyalty to our country solely because of his faith,” Rep. Adam SchiffAdam SchiffWH tried to stop Intel Dems' statement on Russian hacking: report Week ahead: Election hacks, Yahoo breach in the spotlight Overnight Tech: Pressure builds ahead of TV box vote | Intel Dems warn about Russian election hacks | Spending bill doesn't include internet measure MORE (Calif.) said in a statement on Friday.
“These un-American and unfounded smears have no place in our national discourse and are contemptible,” he added.
He would be the first-ever Muslim to sit on the panel, which is privy to many of the nation’s most closely guarded secrets.
The appointment sparked a furor among conservative online publications who charge that Carson has ties to extreme Islamist groups.
On Thursday Rep. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.), vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus, sent a letter to all party members urging them to “take every opportunity to renounce these kinds of comments and discourage this kind of harmful talk.
On Friday Carson said his staff had told him about some comments, but many of his colleagues are excited by his appointment.
“I think, for the most part, folks have been very excited about this opportunity on both sides of the aisle,” he told CNN's "New Day."