Entries in Islam (6)


McCain Defends Hillary Clinton Aide Against Bachmann Accusation

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Describing the accusations against her as “ugly” and “sinister,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., came to the defense of Huma Abedin, longtime aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Last week five Republican members of the House of Representatives, including former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, made claims that Abedin’s family has ties to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and questioned whether she is part of a nefarious conspiracy to harm the United States by influencing U.S. foreign policy with her high-level position at the State Department.

“The Departments Deputy, Chief of Staff, Huma Abedin, has three family members – her late father, her mother and her brother – connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and /or organizations. Her position affords her routine access to the Secretary and to policy making,” according to the June 13th letter, signed by Reps. Bachmann, R-Minn., Trent Franks,  R-Ariz., Louie Gohmert,  R-Texas, Thomas Rooney, R-Fla., and Lynn Westmoreland, R-GA.

The letter was sent to Harold Geisel, the Deputy Inspector General at the Department of State, while similar copies were sent to the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Defense and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.


The lawmakers point to a report by the Center for Security Policy, a conservative think tank, which makes the allegations about Abedin’s family ties and calls on the Deputy Inspector General of the Department of State to begin an investigation into the possibility that Abedin and other American officials are using their influence to promote the cause of the Muslim Brotherhood within the U.S. government.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., took to the Senate floor today to rip apart his fellow Republicans’ accusations and came to the defense of Abedin, whom he calls a “fine and decent American,” after observing her work as both a long-time aide to Clinton while she was a Senator and as the Secretary of State.

“These sinister accusations rest solely on a few unspecified and unsubstantiated associations of members of Huma’s family, none of which have been shown to harm or threaten the United States in any way,” McCain said. “These attacks have no logic, no basis, and no merit and they need to stop. They need to stop now.”

McCain argued that there is no evidence to back up the claims by the House Republicans.

“To say that the accusations made in both documents are not substantiated by the evidence they offer is to be overly polite and diplomatic about it,” McCain said. “The letter in the report offer not one instance of an action, a decision or a public position that Huma has taken while at the State Department or as a member of then-Senator Clinton’s staff that would lend credence to the charge that she is promoting anti-American activities within our government.”

McCain said that no one, “not least a member of Congress,” should launch such a “degrading attack against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are an ignorance of that hey stand for.”

A statement issued after McCain’s speech by Bachmann suggested the letter was being taken out of context.


The controversy comes at a time when Abedin’s husband, disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, may be trying to revamp and clean up his image. After being out of the public eye for over a year following an embarrassing sexting scandal which led to his resignation from Congress, rumors are swirling that Weiner may be planning a bid to succeed Michael Bloomberg as New York City’s mayor.

“It took a lot of work to get to where [we] are today, but I want people to know we’re a normal family,” Abedin told People magazine in an interview this week with her husband.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gingrich: It Should ‘Bother’ Obama That People Think He’s Muslim

Richard Ellis/Getty Images(FOURCHON, La.) -- Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is amping up his language on President Obama’s faith and his relationship with Muslims.  Gingrich told ABC News Friday that he takes the president at his word that he’s a Christian, but finds it “very bizarre” that Obama is “desperately concerned to apologize to Muslim religious fanatics.”

Gingrich said the president’s apology to the Afghan president for the burning Korans by U.S. soldiers happened last month “while they are killing young Americans,” referring to the two Americans killed during protests over the burned books. Gingrich said at the same time, the administration is “going to war against the Catholic Church and against every right-to- life Protestant organization in the country.”

Asked by a member of the press if it concerns him that a large portion of the electorate believes Obama is a Muslim, Gingrich replied, “It should bother the president.”

“Why does the president behave the way that people would think that? You have to ask why would they believe that? It’s not because they’re stupid. It’s because they watch the kind of things I just described to you,” Gingrich said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Spending Day behind Closed Doors, Will Host Iftar Dinner

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- After spending Tuesday in Dover, Del., paying tribute to the 30 U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan over the weekend, President Obama is expected to spend Wednesday behind closed doors at the White House.

Obama will meet separately with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. The president, who continues to wrestle with the struggling economy, was originally scheduled to meet with Geithner on Tuesday, but their meeting was postponed for Obama’s Dover trip.

Wednesday evening, the president will host his third Iftar dinner at the White House celebrating Ramadan. The dinner continues a tradition started under President Clinton and continued by President George W. Bush. Invited guests include elected officials, religious and grassroots leaders in the Muslim American community, and leaders of diverse faiths.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


GOP Presidential Hopefuls Blast Sharia Law in Pre-Primary Rhetoric

Comstock/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Republican presidential hopefuls, eager to shore up support with primary voters, have unleashed a series of rhetorical attacks against Islamic law, or Sharia, in what is widely seen as an attempt to burnish their conservative credentials.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty says his decision to shut down a state-sponsored mortgage program designed to appeal to devout Muslims -- who are forbidden by Sharia law to collect or pay interest on loans -- demonstrates his committment to rooting out Islamic law.

"As soon as Gov. Pawlenty became aware of the issue, he personally ordered it shut it down," Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant told Politico of the program.  "Fortunately, only about three people actually used the program before it was terminated at the governor's direction."

Herman Cain, another likely GOP presidential contender, said over the weekend that he would not appoint a Muslim to his administration or the federal courts because he believes all Muslims "force their Sharia law onto the rest of us."

"There is this creeping attempt, there is this attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government," Cain, founder and former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, told ThinkProgress.  "It does not belong in our government."

Former Pennsylvannia Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, both presumed Republican contenders, have also taken stands on Sharia, insisting Islamic law is incompatible with U.S. law and that it must be banned from recognition in courts across the country.

Sharia governs many aspects of Islamic private life, and influences legal codes in a number of predominantly Muslim countries.

Some American businesses offer Sharia friendly services to cater to Muslim clientele, and judges in some state courts are occasionally asked to consider an individual's Sharia observance when handling probate or family matters.

Any Islamic influence in the American marketplace or legal system, however, makes some people wary, and it's a dynamic the Republican candidates may be trying to tap into with their rhetoric, experts say.

The rhetoric "may fire up a few hardcore conservatives who are, I think, generally misinformed about Islamic law or Sharia law or Muslims in general," said Abdulwahid Qalinle, director of the Islamic Law and Human Rights Program at the University of Minnesota Law School.

"But after the primaries, when the Republican candidate comes to mainstream voters, I think they will have to change the tactic," he said. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


White House Praises Muslims for Aiding Fight Against Terrorism

Comstock/Thinkstock(STERLING, Va.) -- The White House commended Muslim Americans Sunday for their role in fighting violent extremism, just days before the House plans hearings to investigate the “radicalization” of the U.S. Muslim community.

“The most effective voices against al Qaeda’s warped worldview and interpretation of Islam are other Muslims,” Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough said at an interfaith forum held at a Northern Virginia Muslim community center Sunday night.

McDonough praised the members of the community for taking “an unequivocal stand against terrorism” and was adamant that the U.S. does not practice “guilt by association.”

“You’ve condemned terrorism around the world against people of other faiths…In so doing, you’ve sent a message that those who perpetrate such horrific attacks do not represent you or your faith, and that they will not succeed in pitting believers of different faiths against one another,” he said.

McDonough’s comments come as Rep. Peter King, R-NY, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, plans to hold a hearing Thursday on the "Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and That Community's Response."

Earlier Sunday, King reiterated warnings that "something from within" the Muslim community is a threat to America and needs to be explored.

"We're talking about al Qaeda.  We're talking about the affiliates of al Qaeda who have been radicalizing, and there's been self-radicalization going on within the Muslim community, within a very small minority, but it's there.  And that's where the threat is coming from at this time,” King told CNN.

Critics say the hearings risk demonizing the Muslim community by targeting one faith over another.  While McDonough did not mention King or his hearings directly, he made it clear that “to protect our nation, we will not stigmatize or demonize entire communities because of the actions of a few.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama: "Christian By Choice...Jesus Spoke To Me"

Photo Courtesy - The White House(ALBUQUERQUE, NM) -- At a backyard town hall in Albuquerque on Tuesday, President Obama was asked why he is a Christian.

“I’m a Christian by choice,” the president said. “My family didn’t -- frankly, they weren’t folks who went to church every week.  And my mother was one of the most spiritual people I knew, but she didn’t raise me in the church.”

Obama said he came to his Christian faith later in life "because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead."

"I think also understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes," the president said. "What we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people and do our best to help them find their own grace.”

“That’s what I strive to do," Obama said. "I think my public service is part of that effort to express my Christian faith.”

Because of his Muslim roots – his father was born Muslim, though was not observant – the president’s religion has long been a topic of conversation and smears. Last month a poll indicated that a growing number of Americans mistakenly believe that he is a Muslim.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio