National and local media are reporting on the nomination of lawyer Sohail Mohammed as one of seven nominees for Superior Court judgeships. According to a New York Times report:
Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday that one of his seven nominees for Superior Court judgeships would be a lawyer who represented many detainees swept up by the government in the post-9/11 dragnet. The lawyer, Sohail Mohammed, worked in the aftermath of the attacks to try to foster trust between American Muslims and law enforcement, particularly federal officials. He is a board member of the American Muslim Union. Mr. Christie, a United States attorney, was a regular guest at that group’s annual Ramadan dinner and spoke highly of Mr. Mohammed’s work. Mr. Mohammed was on former Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s short list of potential judicial appointees, but he was not nominated. He would serve on the court in Passaic County. His appointment requires confirmation by the State Senate. Mr. Mohammed declined to comment. Mr. Mohammed helped arrange a law enforcement job fair at a Paterson mosque in which young Muslims were encouraged to apply for jobs with law enforcement agencies. The session also featured a question-and-answer session for mosque members with the police and prosecutors. He was also asked to give many training sessions to F.B.I. agents on Islam and Muslim culture.Mr. Mohammed, if confirmed, would become the second Muslim judge of the Superior Court in New Jersey. Last year, Hani Mawla was confirmed to the bench in Somerset County.
Mr. Mohammed is known to be one of the trustees of the American Muslim Union, categorized in a 2004 report by journalist Joel Mowbray as an organization with close to ties to the Islamic Center of Passaic (ICP). According to the report, the ICP has had past ties to Hamas fundraising.
Joel Mowbray The New York Sun | Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Rep. Bill Pascrell and Senator Corzine, both Democrats of New Jersey, addressed an annual “community brunch” last month co-sponsored by 11 Muslim organizations, including a mosque that has allegedly raised funds for Hamas and another New Jersey mosque whose former imam was convicted last year for smuggling more than a half-million dollars to an Egyptian group that the American Treasury Department subsequently designated a terrorist organization. Mr. Pascrell has also received campaign contributions and fund-raising support from the president of the event’s primary sponsor. The American Muslim Union’s Annual Community Brunch on February 21, 2004, was co-sponsored by 10 other organizations, including the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Center of Passaic County of Paterson, the El Tawheed Islamic Center of Jersey City, and the Dar-ul-Islah Islamic Center of Teaneck. The co-sponsor with the most apparent ties to radical Islam, including allegedly raising funds for Hamas and hosting as a speaker last year an alleged Hamas figure, is the Islamic Center of Passaic County. The American Muslim Union, though, appears to have close ties to the Islamic Center of Passaic County, as five of its current and former directors and executives have held or still hold leadership positions at the Islamic Center. The American Muslim Union insists it is a mainstream group, and Mr. Pascrell says he doesn’t regret the appearance. Neither Mr. Pascrell nor Mr. Corzine generally vote outside of the Democratic mainstream on Israel or terror-related matters. The co-founder of and former imam at the Islamic Center of Passaic County, which was founded in 1989, was Mohamed El-Mezain. He worked with the ICPC to raise funds for Hamas in the mid-1990s, according to an FBI memo drafted in November 2001 by the FBI’s assistant director of counterterrorism, Dale Watson. Mr. El-Mezain, who is no longer affiliated with the Islamic Center and could not be reached for comment, was never charged or arrested.
Read the rest here.
In 2008, the Investigative Project reported on the Hams ties of ICP Imam Mohammad Qatanani, then facing possible deportation:
In anticipation of the deportation proceedings of Imam Mohammad Qatanani of the Islamic Center of Passaic in New Jersey, New York Times trumpeted “Revered New Jersey Imam, Facing Deportation, Has Interfaith Support.” And indeed, the Imam has had various “interfaith” leaders testify on his behalf, as reported by Newsday: Several Catholic priests and a Jewish rabbi became emotional on the stand when describing how much Qatanani had done for interfaith understanding. Qatanani is accused of having lied on his immigration documents both about his arrest and conviction in Israel (which he now claims was merely a “detention”) and his confession that he was a member of Hamas (which he now claims was procured under torture). Qatanani also claims he only recently became aware of his conviction by Israeli authorities.
Read the rest here.
Unreported has been the link between the ICP and the Muslim American Society (MAS). In 2007, a web page of the Columbus, Ohio MAS chapter stated that MAS President Essam Omeish had been a onetime chairman of the ICP board (see note below). The MAS was identified in a recent Hudson Institute report as a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and closely tied to the Egyptian organization. Dr. Omeish drew national attention several years ago when he was appointed to a Virginia state immigration commission on Immigration. Omeish resigned less than a day later, after online emerged in which he accused Israel of genocide against Palestinians and exhorted Muslims to “the jihad way.”
(Note: http://www.mas-columbus.org/masc/ accessed 7/26/08)