He said that two of his actions have “drawn the ire” of some conservatives around the country. The first was the nomination of a Sohail Mohammed, a Muslim attorney, as a superior court judge. Conservative web sites have criticized the appointment, saying Mohammed has defended terrorists and will employ shariah law. But Christie called Mohammed a friend and said that those who create hysteria about his appointment because are “bigots.”
Christie also noted that he has been called out for his relationship with Imam Mohammad Qatanani, who is often described online as a “Hamas-linked cleric.”
“The fact of the matter is that in all my interactions over the years with the imam, he has attempted to be a force for good in his community, in our state, with law enforcement, with those of us who have gotten to know and work with us over the years,” said Christie, who worked with the Muslim community as a U.S. Attorney in the aftermath of Sept. 11. “So I hope what you see is a consistent strain of conduct. I will judge people based on their relationships with me and how they conduct themselves.”
Christie is to Muslims as Bush was to Mexicans: both understood that a set of generally religious and conservative brown people are a natural fit for the Republican party. But neither can get any traction with the xenophobic base, for whom having an object of brown hatred is far more important than winning elections. Christie’s got a tougher row to hoe than Bush, since he’s a Yankee and the current Republican party is a hell of a lot less tolerant than it was when Bush was elected. Even though this remark hasn’t made much impact, and the video is now private on YouTube, the winger blogs are lit up like a Jersey refinery over this. If Christie keeps this up, his next gig will be guest appearances with Snooki in the “remember when” show at some boardwalk casino.