Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim elected to Congress, ripped former Speaker Newt GingrichNewton (Newt) Leroy GingrichMORE (R-Ga.) for his calls after the latest terror attack to monitor U.S. mosques and deport believers of Shariah law.


“He does know better,” Ellison said Friday on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe." "That’s the sad thing about Newt Gingrich. He’s a very smart man."

Ellison said Gingrich "simply doesn’t understand the nature of the conflict" after the 2012 presidential candidate called for escalating vigilance of the Muslim world after Thursday's deadly attack in Nice, France.

At least 84 people are dead after a man drove a heavy truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day.

“You have to monitor the mosques,” Gingrich said on Fox News’s “Hannity." "Where do you think the primary source of recruitment is? We should ... test every person here who is of Muslim background, and if they believe in Shariah, they should be deported.”

Ellison said Gingrich’s comments reflect a lack of understanding about his faith’s many interpretations.

“There is no such thing as one Shariah,” he said. "Shariah varies from time to time and from place to place, there’s no unified document."

“That’s the problem with what Newt Gingrich is saying,” Ellison added. "He’s talking about violent attacks on innocent people. That is what we must all condemn."