New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is firing back at critics in his own party who have questioned his decision to appoint a Muslim judge, Sohail Mohammed, to a state bench. Mohammed defended Muslims who were wrongly accused in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, which some conservatives have suggested makes him an unqualified candidate.
While defending his choice at a press conference, Christie made it clear he is “disgusted” by the “ignorance behind the criticism of Sohail Mohammed.” Paranoid fear of Sharia law has become a growing theme in Republican rhetoric, and Christie lashed out at those who would use Islamophobia to attack an exceptional judge:
CHRISTIE: They are criticizing him because he is a Muslim American…I was disgusted, candidly, by some of the questions he was asked by both parties at the Senate judiciary committee…Sharia Law has nothing to do with this at all — it’s crazy! It’s crazy. The guy’s an American citizen…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.
Mohammed is only the second Muslim American to be appointed to a New Jersey bench. Christie praised him as “an extraordinary American” and an “outstanding lawyer” who “played an integral role in the post-September 11 period in building bridges between the Muslim American population and law enforcement in this state.”
Christie also expressed his appreciation that Mohammed is still “willing to serve after all this baloney.”