Politico is reporting that the White has expressed confidence in Rashad Hussain, newly appointed as the U.S. envoy to the Islamic Conference (OIC), despite Mr. Hussain having changed his story about controversial comments he made in 2004 suggesting that Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian and other terrorism cases were “politically-motivated persecutions.” According to the Politico report:
The White House is expressing its confidence in a White House counsel’s office attorney President Barack Obama recently named as U.S. envoy to the Islamic Conference, Rashad Hussain, despite his concession last week that he made ill-considered statements in 2004 about Bush-era terrorism prosecutions. “Were you misled? Do you maintain confidence in this man the president wants to be his delegate to the Islamic Conference?” Fox News’s Wendell Goler asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs at the daily briefing Monday afternoon. “We continue to have confidence,” Gibbs said. “This is an individual that has written extensively on why some have used religious devices like the Qur’an to justify this [terrorism]and why that is absolutely wrong. And has garnered support from both the left and the right so we obviously have confidence.” Hussain initially said he had no recollection of comments he was reported to have made in 2004 portraying the Bush Administration’s treatment of alleged Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian and the handling other terrorism cases as “politically-motivated persecutions.” However, after POLITICO obtained an audio recording of the event, Hussain acknowledged that he made the comments and that he had earlier approached a magazine about removing them, which it did. “I made statements on that panel that I now recognize were ill-conceived or not well-formulated,” Hussain said. Gibbs also repeated another part of Hussain’s statement where he said he had “full faith in the outcome of” Al-Arian’s criminal case, which resulted in him being sentenced to 57 months in prison after pleading guilty to a single felony count of aiding Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Mr. Hussain’s comments and the deletions from the later online versions of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs report were first reported by the GMBDW on Sunday as part of a post which revealed Mr. Hussain’s history of participation in events associated with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. This history includes speaking at a May 2009 event sponsored by a number of U.S. Brotherhood organizations and which also featured individuals tied to the U.S. Brotherhood. In almost all the media coverage of this story, Mr. Hussain’s association with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood has been ignored with the attention focused solely on his comments about Al-Arian.
In August 2008, the Obama campaign Muslim outreach adviser Mazen Asbahi resigned after the Wall Street Journal disclosed his U.S. Muslim Brotherhood ties based on information developed by the GMDR. Another post has discussed the background of Dalia Mogahed, one of two U.S. Muslims appointed to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Ms. Mogahed’s background also suggests ties to the global Muslim Brotherhood.