Jon Seidl at The Blaze has video and a transcript of New Jersey governor Chris Christie self-righteously defending his most recent judicial appointment, Sohail Mohammed, a Muslim lawyer with ties to open supporters of both the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian office, Hamas. It’s disappointing to see Christie reprising his role in support of Faisal Abdul Rauf and the Ground Zero Mosque, dismissing substantive and damning facts, statements and associations in order to accuse his critics of racism and bigotry.
Of course, Christie lashed out at the “crazies” concerned with Shariah law:
“Sharia Law has nothing to do with this at all, it’s crazy!” he cried. “The guy is an American citizen!” He concluded that the “Sharia Law business is just crap… and I’m tried of dealing with the crazies,” adding with disgust and frustration that “it’s just unnecessary to be accusing this guy of things just because of his religious background.”
As Jonathan Tobin points out at Commentary’s Contentions, the controversy about Christie’s appointment of Sohail Mohammed was never about implementation of Shariah through American courts; rather, it was the cozy relationship with unsavory characters with histories of support for violent jihad:
What is of interest is his role as a board member of the American Muslim Union, an extremist group that has its own questionable record in terms of rationalizing terror attacks and supporting others who do so. Of particular importance is one of Mohammed’s clients: Mohammed Qatanani, the imam of the Islamic Center of Passaic County and an influential member of the AMU. Qatanani is a Palestinian supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. He also admitted to being a member of Hamas when Israeli authorities arrested him in 1993. Qatanani lied about all of this when he subsequently came to this country. But he evaded deportation in 2008 because his lawyer was able to persuade a judge to accept his unproven claim the Israelis had tortured him. He also benefited from the intervention on his behalf by, of all people, the man who was then United States Attorney for New Jersey: Chris Christie.
Good luck, then, getting Christie to address the substantive points about Mohammed. Steve Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism said, “I know for certain that Christie and the FBI had access to information about Qatanani’s background, involvement with and support of Hamas.”
Someone needs to ask Governor Christie if having either professional or personal ties to supporters or members of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood is disqualifying for a New Jersey public official. I have a feeling, though, he’d say no.
Maybe this is why (more from Tobin’s original post on this issue in January):
Qatanani also benefited from having some highly placed friends in the justice system as a result of the political pull of the American Muslim Union, which boasts Sohail Mohammed as one of its board members. The AMU was able to get former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, Democratic Congressman Bill Pascrell, and then U.S. attorney Chris Christie to intervene on Qatanani’s behalf during the trial. As far as Christie was concerned, this was not a matter of merely signing a letter or making a phone call. The day before the Immigration Court announced its decision, Christie actually spoke at Qatanani’s mosque (Qatanani’s predecessor had boasted of raising at the mosque $2 million for Hamas via the now banned Holy Land Foundation) at a Ramadan breakfast dinner, where he embraced the imam while praising him as “a man of great good will.”