Friday, August 05, 2011

A Blow against Islamophobia

Credit and applause where they are due.

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey gave a press conference in Newark on Tuesday, and we have only just heard about what he said there. He did something truly wonderful for public discourse and American politics. A few more speeches like this by a few more officials would improve our tone considerably.

Back in January, Governor Christie appointed a prominent muslim attorney, one Sohail Mohammed, to be a judge. The man organized meetings between American muslims and law enforcement in the wake of the September 11 attacks, and also defended muslims who were improperly detained by the FBI.

Cue the insanity. Anti-Islamic hysteria fills up the media with complaints that a muslim judge would undermine the U.S. Constitution, because the man would have no choice but to (1) sympathize with Islamic terrorists and (2) sneak in sharia law to supplant constitutional law.

Governor Christie is having none of it. In a stunning and passionate response, he spoke of his nominee's qualifications and character, the service he had done the community, and the honor he would bring to the bench. But there is more. Christie blasted the ignorance and irrational hatred motivating the controversy with unblinking, and even profane, bluntness. "This Sharia law business is just crap and I'm sick of dealing with the crazies!"

But there was more. Christie also proclaimed very loudly that the FBI did, in fact, inappropriately detain scores of muslims in the wake of September 11, and that those detainees were entitled to due process and a vigorous defense of their innocence. Wow.

There is video of his response here. It is rousing.

[Photo: Governor Christie's press conference on Tuesday, with the Mayor of Newark at left.]


Kelly said...

From what I've seen of Christie, he'll definitely speak his mind - and that's a good thing. Too many politicians temper what they say to what they think their constituency wants to hear.

quid said...

I loved seeing this on Lawrence O'Donnell's show. I'm not a Christie fan, but it is heartening to have him say what is common sense to me.