The Truth? Few Muslims in Government

Huma Abedin Smear Spotlights Paucity of Officials

Huma’s World: Conservative Rep. Michele Bachmann raised hackles by claiming State Department aide Huma Abedin has links to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Getty images
Huma’s World: Conservative Rep. Michele Bachmann raised hackles by claiming State Department aide Huma Abedin has links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

By Nathan Guttman

Published August 03, 2012, issue of August 10, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

On the state level, high-level Muslim appointments can also be a controversial issue. Last year, New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, appointed Sohail Mohammed to be the state’s first Muslim Superior Court judge, but only after facing down a hail of charges from conservatives in his own base that Mohammed would bring Sharia, or Islamic religious law, into American courts.

“Sharia law has nothing to do with this at all. It’s crazy!” Christie declared at an August 2011 press conference.

Bachmann’s call for a probe of several federal officials of Muslim faith was delivered via a series of letters she and fellow Republicans Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Thomas Rooney and Lynn Westmoreland sent on June 13 to the inspectors general of the departments of State, Homeland Security, Defense and Justice, and to the director of National Intelligence. The letters asked the inspectors to investigate the appointees’ alleged ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. These accusations were based on a report compiled by Frank Gaffney, who was a top Pentagon official during the Reagan administration. Bachmann and her colleagues focused especially on Abedin, who, according to the letter sent to State Department’s inspector general, has three family members “connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives.” The letter also claimed that the State Department has adopted a policy favorable toward the Muslim Brotherhood, indirectly suggesting that this policy could be a result of Abedin’s alleged family ties to the organization.

No official response from the inspectors general has been made public. But CNN reported that IG’s at the Departments of State and of Homeland Security had rejected Bachmann’s request as being outside their mandate, which is to examine the effectiveness of government programs and to prevent fraud and waste.

Shail Khan, a former political appointee in the George W. Bush White House, had a similar experience while working in government. Khan served in the Office of Public Liaison from Bush’s first day in office and until the end of his term. During this time, he was attacked by Frank J. Gaffney, who heads the conservative Center for Security Policy, for his “family’s Islamist connections.”

“They tried to question my loyalty,” Khan said in an interview, “but people like Huma Abedin and like me, who passed serious security clearance, are not a threat.”

Khan now tries to encourage young Muslim Americans, in the administration and on Capitol Hill, not to give up on public service. “These things discourage patriotic Americans from serving in government,” Khan said, adding that in recent years he succeeded in convincing several Muslim staffers to remain in government.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.