In January, after New Jersey's Republican Governor Chris Christie first announced his nomination of attorney Sohail Mohammed for a Superior Court judgeship, he quickly came under fire from a right-wing blogosphere warning of Mohammed's “dirty Islamist ties” and the ever-popular creeping shariah.
Mohammed, a Muslim born in southern India, has “close ties with New Jersey's judicial and law enforcement communities,” who describe him as “an important resource” in bridging gaps with the Muslim community. But such facts are irrelevant to the likes of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, which called him a “longtime mouthpiece for radical Islamists,” or blogger Pam Geller, who decreed Christie was “in bed with the enemy.”
The attacks on Mohammed and Christie continued for months. Finally, asked about the criticism during a press conference last week, Christie lashed out at the “ignorance” of his opponents, slamming them for their “crazy” behavior.
CHRISTIE: Ignorance is behind the criticism of Sohail Mohammed. Sohail Mohammed is an extraordinary American, who is an outstanding lawyer and played an integral role in the post-September 11 period in building bridges between the Muslim American community in this state and law enforcement ... Shariah law has nothing to do with this at all. It's crazy ... This Shariah law business is crap. It's just crazy, and I'm tired of dealing with the crazies.
Christie's comments have drawn plaudits from the editorial board of the New Jersey Star-Ledger and from the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center. But the “crazies” are unhappy, and they're not letting the matter rest.
Geller comments that Christie “has shown himself to be a dangerous blustering bloviator, a good little dhimmi” who has made a “monumental mistake.” Andrew Breitbart's Big Peace website calls it “disappointing” to see Christie “dismissing substantive and damning facts, statements and associations in order to accuse his critics of racism and bigotry.” And JihadWatch comments, “to think that some people think this tool would be a good president.”
It will be interesting to see whether other Republican politicians follow Christie in denouncing the anti-Islam right-wing media, or if they knuckle under in the face of this sort of criticism.