Obama's Muslim outreach director resigns
Barack Obama's brand new national coordinator for Muslims in America has resigned amid controversy less than 12 days after his appointment.
Chicago lawyer Mazen Asbahi, who was appointed volunteernational coordinator for Muslim American affairs by the Obamacampaign on July 26, stepped down Monday after an Internet newsletter wrote about his brief stint on the fund's board, whichalso included a fundamentalist imam.
Asbahi, an associate at the Chicago law firm Schiff Hardin, said in his letter that he served on the board of the Dow Jones Islamic Index Fund for a few weeks, but resigned "as I became aware of public allegations against another member of the board."
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the other board member during Asbahi's tenure in 2000 was Jamal Said, imam at a fundamentalist-controlled mosque in Illinois. The Justice Department named Said as an unindicted co-conspirator in the racketeering trial last year of several alleged Hamas fundraisers. The case ended in a mistrial. The newspaper said the connections were first exposed by an Internet newsletter.
Obama, who is a Christian, has been fighting false Internet rumors that he is a Muslim. Asbahi, in a post on the Obama campaign blog last week, said that had created "added sensitivities" between the campaign and the Muslim community, and he encouraged Muslims and Arab-Americans to get involved.