U.S. media is reporting that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has defended his choice of a Muslim for a state judgeship by calling critics of the choice “ignorant” and “crazies.” According to a Bloomberg report:
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is defending his pick of a Muslim for a state judgeship, saying critics of a lawyer who represented suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks are “ignorant” and “crazies”. Sohail Mohammed, 47, was sworn in July 26 as a Superior Court judge in Passaic County. Some political columnists and bloggers have accused Mohammed of having links to terrorism and said he’ll be more likely to follow Shariah law, religious standards based on the Koran, instead of state or federal statutes. Christie, a first-term Republican and former U.S. attorney, told reporters July 26 in Newark that he met Mohammed after 9/11 when he represented Muslims detained by the FBI. Mohammed, of Clifton, “played an integral role” in creating trust between the Islamic community and law enforcement, Christie said. “This Shariah law business is crap,” said Christie, 48. “It’s just crazy and I’m tired of dealing with the crazies.”
Mr. Mohammed is known to be one of the trustees of the American Muslim Union, categorized in a 2004 media report 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.
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 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.
In 2008, the Investigative Project reported on the Hamas 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.
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 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)
A previous post discussed the nomination of Mr. Mohammed for the judgeship.