The Wall Street Journal has reported that the Obama campaign apologized for its newly appointed replacement Muslim outreach coordinator having attended a meeting which also featured two leaders of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. According to the report:
The Obama campaign said it was a mistake for an outreach coordinator to join a meeting last month attended by leaders of two controversial Muslim groups as it seeks votes from large Muslim populations in swing states. Minha Husaini, newly named as head of the campaign’s outreach coordinator to Muslims, attended a discussion session Sept. 15 with about 30 Muslim leaders and community members in suburban Washington, the Obama campaign confirmed. Participants included leaders of the Council of American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim American Society, which have been cited by the government in the past for ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. In August, the campaign’s previous coordinator, Mazen Asbahi, resigned over a similar issue, pointing up one kind of challenge facing the campaign: pursuing the votes of the Muslim community while not perpetuating any misunderstandings about Sen. Barack Obama’s religion. Sen. Obama is a Christian. Mr. Asbahi, who also attended the meeting now entangling Ms. Husaini, resigned after questions arose about his brief tenure on the board of an Islamic investment fund along with a controversial Illinois imam. At the time, campaign officials said he was stepping down because he didn’t want to become a distraction for the campaign. Thursday, campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt, responding to questions about the September session in Springfield, Va., said Ms. Husaini wouldn’t have attended had she known that Council of American-Islamic Relations and Muslim American Society leaders were going to be there. “This meeting was not organized by the campaign,” he said. “Our outreach staff attends many meetings in the course of each day, and they accepted an invitation from community leaders to attend.” The campaign declined to make Ms. Husaini available for comment. Winning over Muslim voters is important to the campaigns of both Sens. Obama and John McCain as they try to gain support from large Muslim communities in the key states of Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Mr. LaBolt said campaign workers’ efforts are aimed at acquaint Muslim voters with Sen. Obama’s positions and to work on voter turnout. “We have a whole faith outreach effort that includes interacting with mosque leaders,” he said. One attendee at the Springfield meeting was Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society’s Freedom Foundation. The Justice Department has asserted in court proceedings that the society’s organizers were members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a global group promoting political Islam. Nihad Awad, executive director of CAIR, also attended the session, as did the group’s legislative director. The government named CAIR an unindicted coconspirator in the Justice Department’s racketeering prosecution last year of alleged Hamas fund-raisers. CAIR said the designation was unjustified; the case ended in a mistrial, but is being brought again by the government. Mr. Awad declined to comment. Mr. Bray didn’t respond to a request for comment. The Obama campaign said it couldn’t comment on Mr. Asbahi’s attendance at the session.
The original information concerning the Brotherhood ties of Mazen Asbahi was first provided in August by the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report and used in the Journal reporting. A previous post reported that Mr. Asbahi was still acting in an “unofficial” capacity for the Obama campaign.