In the days following the 9-11 terrorist attacks, you may recall that over 1,000 Arabs and Muslims were detained by the FBI and other law enforcement in an effort to root out domestic terrorism. Of course, many detainees were not lawbreakers or even material witnesses. They were just American citizens living lawfully with the "wrong" skin tone, "wrong" religion -- even the "wrong" facial hair.
Sohail Mohammed was a New Jersey immigration attorney representing some of these people, impressing many in the process -- including the future Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie. In January, Governor Christie nominated Mr. Mohammed to become the state's first Indian-American Superior Court justice. He was sworn in last week.
In the time between his nomination and his swearing-in, Mr. Muhammad had accusations thrown his way, the same ones that have become all too common in conservative circles: allegations that he was a Muslim zealot who would impose Shariah law on New Jersey from the bench (insert panicked screams here).
Governor Christie gave a fiery response to such fears during a town hall last week:
The guy’s an American citizen who has been an admitted lawyer to practice in the state of New Jersey, swearing an oath to uphold the laws of New Jersey, the constitution of the state of New Jersey, and the Constitution of the United States of America…this sharia law business is crap. It’s just crazy. And I’m tired of dealing with the crazies. It’s just unnecessary to be accusing this guy of things just because of his religious background.
For his stand, Governor Christie is getting a lot more dap from the national media today.