The bold, bombastic style that has earned New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie much acclaim in the political bullpen excited conservatives when he used it to battle the unions and biased media agents. Now that Christie’s wrath is being vented on American citizens with legitimate concerns about political Islam and sharia law, however, there are questions about the principles driving the political star’s moral indignation.
First, Christie’s cognitive dissonance on the issue of Islamist activists is startling when compared to his fiery public employee union showdowns. Where Christie is apparently willing to overlook the organized and duplicitous tactics of the Islamists, he confronts the unions for utilizing the very same methods. Common to both movements is the lack of popular support for their initiatives, meaning coercive measures have become the most effective means to their ends. Both operations skillfully utilize grievance-driven political warfare that also promises a second wave of retaliatory action if the resistance is not subdued after the first assault.
While Christie is willing to call the unions on their extortionist tactics, he defiantly denies the similar Islamist methods. All who have the temerity to confront the Islamist plan to deploy sharia – as first expressed in the Muslim enclaves – bear the brunt of Christie’s public ridicule and are dismissed as “absolutely ignorant” or “crazy.” He has even declared the entire subject a no-go zone by dismissing concerns about the “sharia law business [a]s crap.”
Days ago, Christie again vented against those who criticized his appointment of a Muslim New Jersey superior court judge with questionable Islamist ties by taking a long-arm swipe at his detractors while endorsing Mitt Romney. The governor went so far as to stretch a comparison of any who would question Romney’s Mormon faith to those who “disparaged” his judicial appointment of American Muslim Union board member Sohail Mohammed. Among other suspect associations, as investigated by respected researchers and currently reported by Andrew McCarthy, Sohail was a legal defender of Hamas-enabler and Muslim Brotherhood member Mohammed Qatanani.
Christie directly endorsed Qatanani as "a man of great goodwill" and "a constructive force," and -- also while he was New Jersey Assistant U.S. Attorney -- Christie offered one of his associate attorneys to testify on behalf of Qatanani. This high-level character witness countered the Department of Homeland Security’s effort to deport Qatanani for lying about detention in Israel for supporting Hamas.
Yet Christie steadfastly dismisses any criticism of Qatanani’s actions, as well as criticism of his appointment of Judge Sohail Mohammed, saying to oppose the appointment is akin to imposing an unlawful religious test; moreover, one that he says would not be indicative of leadership ability.
While deriding critics as being driven by something like religious bigotry, Christie evades the question of what responsibility public officials have to scrutinize the record of Muslims with past radical associations before trusting them with great legal authority. His stonewalling and bluster whenever questioned about this duty only prompt greater concern.
Christie governs a state with one of the largest Muslim populations in the United States. Some have compared Jersey’s Passaic County to France with its "no-go zones," where the local authorities, non-sharia-practicing Muslims and outsiders are all unwelcome. As in much of Western Europe, separate Muslim communities are embedded and are expanding. Politicians who pander to these political Islamists betray American traditions of individual liberty and rule of law. They also abandon the majority of Muslims in America who embrace our constitutional principles.
Even if there was no reason to fear alarming levels of radicalization and home-grown terror in the homeland, there is every reason to heed the critical mass reached by Islamists in Western Europe as a dire warning to Americans.
Before committing more critical errors, Christie should consider very recent developments in our Western sister societies across the pond. First, France is trying to take back public streets that were being commandeered for Friday prayers. After providing temporary fire department mosque space for prayers until a new mosque opens in two years, Interior Minister Claude Gueant announced that the government would enforce a ban on street prayers. Muslims reacted with street riots including threats of violence against France as well as the forbidden anti-Semitic “death to Jews” slurs. There was a media blackout on coverage of this mob response but citizen action group Riposte Laique was there with video cameras.
In Great Britain, Russia Today, a 24-hour English language news channel is reporting that sharia zones in London are being enforced by Islamist vigilantes. Rumors that women must be covered and sharia rules regarding pornography and drinking were being imposed had been circulating but now there is video footage. The notorious Anjem Choudary is shown publically calling on Muslims to establish an Islamist caliphate, beginning with London. Some report that the posters declaring “you are entering a sharia law zone” in some of the hamlets are being taken down as fast as they are posted but law enforcement efforts to confront the imposition of sharia laws are hamstrung by the numbers and coordination of the militant Islamists.
American Muslim Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a patriot and thoughtful Islamic reformer, recently wrote poignant account of his fears that his children will grow up in an America where they will be subjected to great pressure to radicalize.
The next time that Chris Christie is tempted to get all prickly about efforts to confront Islamist radicalization efforts in America, he should consider the courage and determination that it takes to withstand the Muslim Brotherhood front group charges of hate and Islamophobia. Most that are standing against this assault on American values are well-intentioned and motivated by justified concern over the trends in Europe – as well as the level of disinterest demonstrated by leaders like Governor Christie.