The conservative website Jihad Watch and the Daily Caller reported comments Indiana Rep. André Carson gave during a speech last May at the 37th annual Islamic Circle of North America-Muslim American Society Convention.
"America will never tap into educational innovation and ingenuity without looking at the model that we have in our madrassas, in our schools, where innovation is encouraged, where the foundation is the Quran."
Carson tells Roll Call that these comments were part of a longer set of comments on the state of the American public school system.
"The entire speech is on YouTube, and [the comments were] only a section of what we talked about," he told Roll Call.
Carson, who is the product of both public and Catholic school education, believes that "faith-based schools are doing something right."
Catholic, Episcopalian, Jewish and, yes, even Muslim faith-based education institutions have a higher rate of graduation, Carson said.
When asked why this might be, Carson said the smaller class sizes, innovative teaching methods and ability "to manage their funds more efficiently" contribute to the quality of faith-based education.
At the conference, Carson explained, he highlighted Islamic schools because there several successful ones in his district.