Last month, N.J. Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa attended the Friday services of the Islamic Center of Passaic County, continuing the Christie Administration’s engagement with the Hamas-linked mosque and its imam, Mohammad Qatanani.
The referenced article states that “Immigration officials have sought unsuccessfully to tie Mohammad Qatanani to Palestinian terrorist groups” and he is supported by Christie and N.J. law enforcement. Actually, the Department of Homeland Security is still seeking his deportation because of the extensive evidence linking him to Hamas.
Christie first rushed to Qatanani’s defense as U.S. Attorney when the Department of Homeland Security began deportation proceedings. The mosque he leads was founded by a Hamas fundraiser. Before joining the mosque leadership, Qatanani was arrested and convicted in 1993 by the Israeli government for his links to Hamas. His failure to disclose this on his green card application triggered the proceedings.
The trial is still underway after the Board of Immigration Appeals overturned the original ruling in favor of Qatanani. In 2011, Christie appointed Qatanani’s attorney, Sohail Mohammed, as a Superior Court Judge. Last summer, Christie charged that Qatanani’s critics are anti-Muslim “bigots.”
In November, the Clarion Project broke the story that four Islamist-linked individuals are on Christie’s Muslim outreach committee that serves under the Attorney General. One of them is Qatanani.
This is an issue that must come up if Christie runs for president in 2016, as seems likely. Voters should know how he reacted after being informed by the DHS and multiple articles by terrorism experts. Here’s one question that should be posed to him: If Qatanani’s critics are anti-Muslim bigots, what does that make the Department of Homeland Security?
Ryan Mauro is Clarion Project's National Security Analyst. He is frequently interviewed on Fox News.