Ten days after the announcement of his appointment as the Obama campaign’s coordinator for Muslim affairs, Chicago lawyer Mazen Ashabi resigned, saying he didn’t want investigations into his past associations to become “distracting.”
Mazen Asbahi became the campaign’s coordinator of outreach to Muslims on July 26, but earlier this week a report by the Internet newsletter Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report was surfaced by the Wall Street Journal that linked Asbahi to Jamal Said, a man thought by the U.S. Department of Justice to be involved in racketeering and fundraising for the Palestinian terror organization Hamas.
A pair of Detroit Free Press articles this week also revealed Asbahi spent part of the day of his appointment at a fundraiser at the home of Dr. Jukaku Tayeb, president of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR.
CAIR has been accused in the book “Why We Left Islam: Former Muslims Speak Out”, published by WND books, of being a co-conspirator in funneling $12 million to Hamas, operating as a front for the Muslim Brotherhood and extensive connections to terrorist organizations.
The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report, which initiated the events leading to Asbahi’s resignation, is published by a Washington think tank that tracks the Muslim Brotherhood, a world-wide Sunni Islam fundamentalist group based in Egypt.
The Report revealed Asbahi had briefly served in 2000 on the board of an Islamic investment fund called the Allied Assets Advisors Fund with Jamal Said, imam at a fundamentalist-controlled mosque in Illinois. Said, in turn, was named last year by the U.S. Department of Justice as an unindicted co-conspirator in a racketeering trial surrounding alleged Hamas fundraisers, which ended in a mistrial.
According to the Wall Street Journal, after it learned of Asbahi’s connection to Said, the newspaper submitted a list of questions to the Obama campaign about Asbahi’s background.
Rather than answers, however, Asbahi responded with his resignation.
Referring to his time on the Allied Assets Advisors Fund board, Asbahi wrote in his resignation, “I served on that board for only a few weeks before resigning as soon as I became aware of public allegations against another member of the board.” The letter also said, “Since concerns have been raised about that brief time, I am stepping down … to avoid distracting from Barack Obama’s message of change.”
Immediately following Asbahi’s resignation, CAIR spokesmen came to his defense, calling the investigation into his past and his subsequent resignation an example of Americans’ fear of Islam.
Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR’s Michigan chapter, told the London Guardian that links between Asbahi and terrorist groups were “baseless smears” and said, “This incident just shows how Islamophobic the political climate is right now.”
Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago Council of CAIR, told the Chicago Sun-Times the Asbahi resignation demonstrates “the difficulty of charting the waters of Islamophobia in this election cycle.”
Meanwhile, an Obama campaign spokesman, Ben LaBolt, told the Wall Street Journal the senator’s campaign is in the process of searching for a new national Arab American and Muslim American outreach coordinator.