I am not a supporter of Gov. Chris Christie. l disagree with virtually all of his polices and I do not approve of his highly partisan style of governing. I do feel, however, that an op-ed article on these pages by Daniel Pipes and Steven Emerson regarding the governor is neither correct nor fair. It charged that Christie is unfit to serve as vice president because of what the authors feel are his pro-Islamic views and actions.
The authors cite four actions taken by Christie that attempt to portray the governor as being soft on lslamism. A closer review would reveal that the perception is incorrect.
Many public figures from all political points of view, as well as religious leaders including rabbis, supported Mohammad Qatanani when the Department of Homeland Security attempted to deport him. The deportation case against Qatanani was particularly weak. The issue was whether he failed to disclose that he had been detained for a period of time and questioned by Israeli officials. There was no indication that he had been convicted of any offense. Most of the evidence against him was so-called “secret evidence” to which he had no opportunity to rebut. The immigration judge dismissed the government’s case, finding that there was no proof that Qatanani had ever been arrested or attempted to mislead the government.
With regard to supporting the firing of a person who burned pages of a Koran, one cannot question that it was an “unacceptable” act of “intolerance.” Would someone not condemn a person burning three pages of a chumash? Christie is not the first politician of either party – nor will he be the last – to be on the other side of an issue from the American Civil Liberties Union. Derek Fenton should not have been fired, but that does not excuse his actions.
Sohail Mohammed is an excellent attorney who deserved to be appointed to the Superior Court. He is the first Muslim to serve as a state judge in New Jersey. As an attorney, he was a role model to the Muslim community and actively protected the rights of that community. Of special interest was his work in regard to the short-lived special registration program instituted by President George W. Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft, which required people from certain countries to report to the Department of Homeland Security, where many were taken into custody and deported.
This program was in many ways reminiscent to the actions in Germany with regard to Jews in the 1930s. To question Mohammed as to his views of Shari’a law would be no different than questioning an Orthodox Jewish appointee as to whether his views of Torah law would color his actions as a judge.
Christie was correct in continuing to support Mohammed in light of the xenophobia surrounding his appointment.
Finally, Christie was not the only political figure to condemn the actions of the New York Police Department in conducting surveillance in New Jersey on New Jersey residents including students at Rutgers University. Sen. Robert Menendez also questioned the propriety of these actions. Reasonable people can differ as to whether it is appropriate for a local police force from another state to conduct surveillance on New Jersey residents.
I find many reasons not to support Chris Christie for national oftice, but to say that he is “soft on lsIamism” and lacks a “moral compass and integrity” are not among those reasons.