When it came to light recently that the NYPD had been conducting surveillance on Muslim groups, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was one of the program’s most vocal critics. In light of some questionable moves by Christie in the past, perhaps he would have been better served to have taken a pass on this controversy.
Heated rhetoric between New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York officials over the NYPD’s surveillance activities on Muslim subjects in New Jersey is reviving questions about Christie’s views toward radical Islam.
Christie expressed anger about the surveillance following disclosures in a series of Associated Press reports. “I don’t know if this NYPD action was born out of arrogance, or out of paranoia, or out of both,” he said when asked about it on his monthly radio show, “but we’re taking a real good, strong hard look at it from a policy perspective at the governor’s office level.”
That prompted U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., to tell a radio interviewer “I wish Chris Christie was more concerned about keeping people alive than he is about trying to score cheap political points.”
Jonathan Tobin analyzes the situation, finding it is more than “two politicians who love to run their mouths and are intolerant of criticism.” Rather, he sees Christie cynically choosing sides to cultivate Muslim political support. As the Investigative Project on Terrorism reported last year, Christie’s appointment of Sohail Mohammed to be a state judge was a troubling sign. Mohammed had represented Mohammed Qatanani, an imam suspected of Hamas ties, in a deportation case.
“Christie not only sought to prevent the deportation but spoke at the imam’s mosque which had previously been the site of a $2 million fundraiser for Hamas by the now banned Holy Land Foundation,” Tobin writes.
For the record, here is the video of Christie defending Sohail Mohammed last year.