New Jersey Governor Chris Christie held an Iftar dinner at the Governor’s Mansion in late July. He took the opportunity to declare himself a foursquare tool of jihadists and Islamic supremacists, and even adopted their language in deriding those who have pointed out how he has allowed himself to be compromised by them.
Christie complained about a “gaze of intolerance that’s going around our country that is disturbing,” and referred dismissively to concerns that he has gotten too close to Islamic supremacists: “These are the kind of red herrings that people put up who are bigots, who want to judge people based upon their religious beliefs, want to judge people with a broad brush.”
Attending the dinner was the prominent New Jersey Imam Mohammad Qatanani, and Christie was glad to see him, telling him before the audience: “I’m glad to have you here.” Qatanani, he said, was his “friend,” and someone who has “attempted to be a force for good in his community.”
Christie did not mention several salient details about his “friend.” Investigative journalist Daniel Greenfield reports that “despite the fact that Mohammed Qatanani was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization that is behind both al-Qaeda and Hamas, despite 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 was not deported.”
Christie also referred to another friend of his, Sohail Mohammed, whom he appointed to a Superior Court judgeship in Passaic County. Mohammed was Qaranani’s lawyer when he pled guilty to membership in Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Christie has defended Mohammed before, and last year even went out of his way to slam opposition to Sharia in the U.S. as “crap.”
What is actually “crap” is the idea that anyone would consider Chris Christie fit to be President of the United States. “Ignorance is behind the criticism of Sohail Mohammed,” Christie declared, without bothering to explain how “ignorance” provoked Qatanani’s guilty plea, or involvement in Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, or Mohammed’s other ties to Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas-linked individuals and groups.
But Christie’s most egregious statements at that time came after a followup question about the spread of Islamic law, Sharia, in the United States. “Sharia law has nothing to do with this at all. It’s crazy!” Christie sputtered. “The guy”—Sohail Mohammed—“is an American citizen!” He declared that “this Sharia law business is just crap … and I’m tried of dealing with the crazies.”
Listening to all that from Christie, you’d get the idea that Sohail Mohammed is being unjustly maligned out of “hatred,” “bigotry” and “Islamophobia”—and that any concern about Sharia in the U.S. is just another manifestation of the same thing. Never mind that courts in 23 states have already used Sharia as a factor in their deliberations, despite its contradictions of American law on the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, equality of rights for women, and more.
Never mind that the Muslim Brotherhood, with which Sohail Mohammed’s client Mohammed Qatanani was involved, is dedicated in its own words, according to a captured internal document, to “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house … so that Allah’s religion is victorious over other religions.”
A manifesto for sedition and subversion? Sure. But only if you’re one of the “crazies” who fall for that “crap.” Christie knows better—or at least he knows something. Christie knows, according to terrorism expert Steve Emerson, all about Mohammed Qatanani’s unsavory ties: “I know for certain that Christie and the FBI special agent in charge had access to information about Qatanani’s background, involvement with and support of Hamas.” Yet even as he knew this, Christie called Qatanani “a man of great good will” and “a constructive force”—and defended Qatanani from Department of Homeland Security attempts to deport him. Emerson rightly called this “a disgrace and an act of pure political corruption.”
It is hard to fathom the moral calculus of a politician like Christie as he affects high moral dudgeon over the venomous Islamophobes who dare to criticize his friends Mohammed Qatanani and Sohail Mohammed and to take issue with Sharia law’s rejection of fundamental American principles. But not all that hard. New Jersey has one of the largest Muslim populations in the United States, and Christie knows which side of his bread is buttered. Nonetheless, he cannot be excused on this basis. This shameless pandering for votes, as hallowed a practice as it is in American politics, comes at far too high a price in this instance.
If that is not immediately clear, imagine if Christie had appointed as a judge someone who was an attorney for the Ku Klux Klan, or the Aryan Nations. The analogy is not hyperbole: Remember, the Muslim Brotherhood says of itself that it is dedicated to “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within.” If Christie had done this, the mainstream media would never have let him get away with the moral indignation he affected at his Iftar dinner. But instead, the media found in Christie just the kind of conservative they like: one who panders to the Leftist agenda while adopting a posture of taking the moral high ground against the benighted right-wingers who are actually standing for freedom and human rights.
During his speech at the Iftar dinner, Christie said proudly: “You’ll all be fascinated to learn that in many publications around the country, I’m called an Islamist.” No one ever actually called him an Islamist, and I am not doing so now. What he is actually is the Islamists’ Useful Idiot.
- Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Did Muhammad Exist?, is now available.
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