New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has officially doubled down on his defense of two Muslim men, one of whom has a verifiable connection to the Muslim Brotherhood; he used to belong to the organization.
At a July 24th Iftar dinner, held at the Governor’s mansion, Christie singled out both Imam Mohammad Qatanani and Sohail Mohammed. Qatanani – who was in attendance, received a shout out from Christie – once belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood and admitted to being a member of Hamas as part of a plea bargain according to Ryan Mauro.
Qatanani came to N.J. in 1994 to serve as an imam for the Islamic Center of Passaic County (ICPC) in Paterson. The mosque was founded in 1989 by Mohammed el-Mezain, who later was convicted of being a Hamas fundraiser. It was in this mosque that el-Mezain boasted of having raised nearly $2 million in the U.S. for Hamas. Qatanani served alongside el-Mezain, even sharing the same address, until el-Mezain handed the reigns over to him.
Another extremist ICPC official was Esam Omeish, who once was the chairman of the board. He is the former president of the Muslim American Society, a Muslim Brotherhood front. Omeish calls the Brotherhood “moderate” and has expressed admiration for the founder of Hamas and Palestinians who believe “that the jihad way is the way to liberate your land.”
ICPC had Abdelhaleem Ashqar as a guest speaker, who was accused of being involved with Hamas and was later convicted for refusing to testify about the terrorist group’s fundraising. Another guest speaker at ICPC is Hamas-supporter Imam Reda Shata. When he was the leader of Brooklyn’s Islamic Center of Bay Ridge, he had El-Mezain as a guest speaker. The NYPD put Shata under surveillance as a “Tier One Person of Interest.”
In 1999, Qatanani applied for a green card and did not disclose his conviction by the Israelis as a member of Hamas. The Department of Homeland Security began seeking his deportation in July 2006. A 2008 court filing by the DHS accuses him of “material misrepresentation” and “engaging in unauthorized employment…by allowing an out-of-status alien to reside with him.” It also states that he “has engaged in terrorist activity.” Qatanani sent thousands of dollars to the West Bank and the DHS described his explanation that it was easier than a wire transfer to be “highly dubious.”
Mauro links to some translations of Qatanani’s sermons over at IPT; you won’t believe your eyes. Christie is ignoring obvious red flags and ignorance is no excuse.
The other individual Christie defended at the dinner was a man he appointed to a Superior Court Judgeship in Passaic County, NJ – Sohail Mohammed:
Mohammed was the General Counsel of the American Muslim Union, which has had at least five common officials with the Hamas-founded ICPC. The organization’s newsletter stated that “Zionist commandos orchestrated the 9/11 terrorist attacks” and supports Neturei Karta, a pro-Hamas, pro-Ahmadinejad Jewish group dedicated to the destruction of Israel. The group also declined to participate in the 2005 “Free Muslims March Against Terror,” which condemned all terrorist groups, including Hamas.
Mohammed also spoke out against the prosecutions of Sami al-Arian, a convicted leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Holy Land Foundation. The evidence against them was enormous. He dismissed it and is now a Superior Court Judge, thanks to Christie.
Here is the full video of Christie’s speech. His defense of the aforementioned two men comes in the beginning if you don’t want to watch the entire video.
An ironic takeaway here is that after calling people who have concerns about his associations with Qatanani and Mohammed “bigots”, Christie then says it’s ok to have disagreements but that people should remain “respectful”.
Did Chris Christie have a ‘Mike McQueary’ moment? If so, when was it?
Here is video of Christie last year, defending Sohail Mohammed: