New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie just picked up an unlikely ally for a prominent Republican politician these days: the Council on American-Islamic Relation, better known as CAIR.
The group’s Garden State branch sent a shout-out to Christie after a video made the rounds showing the governor defending one of his nominees for the state bench against allegation that his Muslim faith meant he’d bring sharia into the legal system.
“Governor Christie’s praise highlights the commitment of American Muslims to building a better society,” CAIR-NJ Executive Director James Yee said in a statement. “We hope the governor’s comments will help stem the rising tide of Islamophobia in our society and help unify our nation.”
Christie drew fire from the sharia-phobic right he appointed attorney Sohail Mohammed to the New Jersey Superior Court bench back in January. (It’s not the first time conservative elements have been upset with the Republican idol: Christie was also the subject of much grumbling at this year’s climate skeptic convention in Washington.)
In the case of Mohammed, the attacks were as vitriolic as they were predictable. Conservative pundits warned that the appointment meant Christie’s “judgment on the issue of support for terrorism is highly questionable.” Anti-sharia firebrand Pamela Gellar said, flatly, that Christie was “in bed with the enemy.”
In a speech given a couple of weeks ago that only this week became a viral sensation, Christie — in his signature style — would have none of it.
“This sharia law business is crap,” he said. “It’s just crazy. And I’m tired of dealing with the crazies.”
Mohammad was sworn in as a judge on July 26. Today, CAIR thanked Christie for standing up for him against a vocal part of his base.
“We applaud Governor Christie for shining a spotlight on the tremendous contributions of Judge Sohail Mohammed,” Yee said.