Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey has become a popular hero in many quarters for his fearless determination to restore New Jersey, which has the highest taxes in the country, to fiscal sanity. What vaulted him from merely "popular" to acclaimed "hero" was his pull-no-punches forthrightness. YouTube videos of Chris Christie talking back, rationally but firmly and wittily, to his opponents, quickly went viral. In an age of milquetoasts and mamby-pambies, Christie's bold frankness was not just a breath of fresh air, but a vitamin B-12 shot in the arm for the politically anemic.
So why am I talking in the past tense? Because it turns out that Christie does pull his punches -- in fact, he is woefully compromised -- in an area that could not be more crucial to our national security: the inroads being made in our country by those who would replace the U.S. Constitution with sharia law.
Some of us first started getting a bad feeling about Christie when we heard his wishy-washy comments about the Ground Zero Mosque -- which were especially disturbing since so many New Jerseyans died in the Twin Towers on 9/11. But we liked Christie so much that we tried to overlook it. Unfortunately, Christie's Muslim-coddling comments look even worse now, in the light of recent revelations about Christie's associations with radical Islamists.
Let's start with Christie's recent appointment of Muslim lawyer Sohail Mohammed to the position of justice on the Superior Court of New Jersey. Mohammed is not just any Muslim lawyer; he has defended alleged terrorists. From Family Security Matters:
Sohail Mohammed’s most famous clients would be “The Fort Dix Six”, the group of would-be Islamic terrorists from Yugoslavia and the Middle East who were plotting to shoot up the Fort Dix military base in N.J. in January 2006.
Equally problematic is Sohail Mohammed's defense of Mohammad Qatanani, a radical imam who is the head of New Jersey's largest mosque, the Islamic Center of Passaic County, which has long been the center of a dense web of interconnected radical individuals and groups.
In 2008, while Christie was the U.S. Attorney for N.J., the Department of Homeland Security initiated deportation proceedings against the imam, because Qatanani was alleged to be connected with Hamas.
So what did Christie do? The very night before the immigration judge was to announce his decision regarding Sohail Mohammed’s client, U.S. Attorney Chris Christie praised the defendant. Yes, he praised him, saying “My view is he’s always had a very good relationship with us, and he’s a man of great goodwill.” Where did Christie make this statement? He announced it at a Ramadan break-fast dinner.
Steve Emerson, author of American Jihad: The Terrorists Among Us and head of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, writes:
Qatanani has a history of Hamas support and was related by marriage to a leading Hamas operative in the West Bank. This fall, Qatanani will return to a New Jersey immigration court, where the Department of Homeland Security is fighting to have him deported.
When even Janet Napolitano's defanged version of the DHS is trying to deport some guy, you know he must be bad!
In his initial application for a green card filed in 1999, government lawyers say Qatanani failed to disclose a conviction in an Israeli military court for being a Hamas member and providing support to the terrorist group.
Oddly, Christie — a Republican who was then the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey — sided with Qatanani against DHS, allowing a top lieutenant, Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles McKenna, to testify as a character witness at Qatanani's first immigration trial, and publicly embracing the imam at a Ramadan breakfast at his mosque. Christie later appointed McKenna as New Jersey's head of homeland security...
Oh, great. Doesn't that make you feel more secure, Jersey folks?
The U.S. Attorney’s office was not a party to the case, Christie said, and his praise for Qatanani was not meant to be “a commentary on the dispute between the imam and DHS” but after 9/11, he found the imam “to be a constructive force in attempting to strengthen our relations with that community.”
Ah, yes, one of those nice "community builders" -- kind of like Imam Rauf of the Ground Zero Mosque? Well, not exactly. Qatanani makes Imam Rauf look good by comparison!
From Daniel Greenfield, blogger at Sultan Knish and an expert on sharia's ongoing advances in our country:
Mohammed Qatanani was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization that is behind both Al Qaeda and Hamas. [D]espite his own guilty plea to being a member of Hamas, and despite the fact that even in the United States, he had defended a charity that provided funds to children of suicide bombers (this is done as an incentive to reassure terrorists that if they die their families will be taken care of), Qatanani [has not yet been] deported.
I assume that Sohail Mohammed, having been given the job of Superior Court Justice by Gov. Christie, has had to tell Qatanani to find himself a new lawyer. But will Mohammed also have to give up his position on the board of a very problematic organization known as the American Muslim Union?
In a separate post at Sultan Knish, Greenfield elaborates on the AMU:
The Muslim American Union is not a benign group, it has been accused of being extremist in the past, and shares much of its leadership with the Islamic Center of Passaic County, a mosque that certainly is extremist. Despite its nature, Christie has appeared at the ICPC and befriended its Imam, Imam Qatanani, who admitted to being a member of Hamas. Sohail Mohammed defended the Imam, as his lawyer, and later spoke out as a private citizen. This raises concerns about both Sohail Mohammed and Christie.
There are legitimate concerns that the nomination is going forward as a payoff to Imam Qatanani of the ICPC, whose support Christie solicited during the election.
Imam Qatanani's association with the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization which seeks to impose Islamic law worldwide, and which has generated terrorist groups such as Hamas and Al Qaeda, raises legitimate questions about any politicians who would choose to affiliate themselves with him, and any organizations he is involved with. He has already shown the ability to compel politicians of both parties to do his will. The [American Muslim Union] is closely integrated with Qatanani's mosque, and Sohail's role in the [AMU] should bear close scrutiny, particularly in light of recent revelations by terrorist researcher Steve Emerson that the AMU list appears to have circulated anti-semitic apologetics for 9/11.
Sohail is not only on the board of trustees of this noxious group, but has also been the group's general counsel. As such, he has often represented clients being investigated by our government on terrorism allegations.
Joel Mowbray, writing in the Jewish World Review, has more on the organization to which Gov. Christie's judicial nominee has devoted so much of his time and talent:
The AMU often is highly critical of U.S. counter-terrorism efforts.... One online newsletter even included a claim that a "Zionist commando orchestrated the 9/11 terrorist attacks."
Though the American Muslim Union appears moderate in its official literature — saying it is "dedicated to serving the American Muslim community and its unique needs" — the organization has interlocking leadership with a group that has allegedly raised funds for Hamas and hosted as a guest speaker last year an alleged Hamas member.
Four current and former AMU directors and executives have held or currently hold leadership positions with the Islamic Center of Passaic County (ICPC). ICPC was founded in 1989 by, among others, Mohamed el-Mezain [also the mosque's first imam], who was the Chairman of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLFRD), which the Treasury Department designated a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in December 2001 [for funneling money to Hamas].
According to Conservative New Jersey:
El-Mezain had actually boasted of raising almost 2 million dollars for Hamas. And his replacement, Qatanani, actually was a member of Hamas. An ordinary politician might have been forgiven for not knowing this, but Christie was the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey. It’s absolutely impossible that he would not have known the background of the Islamic Center of Passaic County. Yet Christie attended a Ramadan dinner, in the same place where terrorists had fundraised, and kissed Qatanani on the cheek.
Time to kiss Chris Christie goodbye as a serious contender for higher office.
Hat tip: Peter and Bob.