Gov Christie blasts critics of Judge Mohammed appointment: ‘I’m tired of dealing with the crazies’

Sohail Mohammed was a lawyer for Muslims detained during the FBI roundups after 9/11; last week he became the second Muslim judge in New Jersey when he was sworn in by his mentor.

His swearing in and nomination came amidst intense criticism from conservative Islamophobes. Below is a video of Governor Chris Christie harshly responding to critics of his nomination, and citing Judge Sohail Mohammed as “An outstanding human being”.


Sitting behind the bench in a packed courtroom in the Passaic County Courthouse, Mr. Mohammed told of how his journey to that spot in many ways centered around that very room.

It was in that courthouse where he took his oath of citizenship and where he served jury duty, which is what led him to abandon an engineering career and become a lawyer.

He spoke of how he is an example of the American dream, how he came to the country in 1980, and how his mother worked two jobs to support the family. He thanked Mr. Christie for being a friend.

“It’s all part of the process,” Mr. Mohammed said when asked about the criticism of his nomination.

Asaad Siddiqi, president of the New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association, said there was a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of Sharia law for Muslims in America—that it is cultural, rather than something that would subvert a judge’s duty to uphold the law, constitution and precedents.

He said the criticism was similar to that levied at judicial nominations in other policy areas by opposition groups.

Mr. Siddiqi, who once worked opposite Mr. Mohammed in a dispute involving parents and a school board, described him as an intelligent and respected lawyer.

“We’re a diverse state, and it’s important to have a judiciary that reflects the members, the citizens of the state,” Mr. Siddiqi said. “It’s an important step forward for the state.”

(hat tip Helena Cobban)

Initial publication of this piece included editor’s error. Since corrected; apologies.

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 11 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. annie says:

    i actually started crying the first time i saw this video.

  2. Woody Tanaka says:

    Good for Christie. He’s a tool in most areas, but he was absolutely right here. Credit where credit is due.

  3. Chu says:

    It’s nice to see the media(who pathetically ask the question about Sharia law) can have the tables turned on them by Christie. This prejuduce against Muslims is slowly withering on the vine with the political class. And, of course there’s a long way to go.

    Can anyone identify who asked that question about Sharia law?

  4. I cannot wait to see how quickly the GOP/Tea Party/Likudists insane-asylum escapees cool toward this most recent of their heroes.

    So, does exhibiting Islamophobia-skepticism trump union-busting? We’ll see, and I’m eager to stay tuned.

    I heartily second Woody Tanaka’s comment above.

  5. Chespirito says:

    Props where they’re due: I disagree with Gov Christie about plenty but here he has really done himself and the state of New Jersey proud.

  6. Djinn says:

    I don’t know anything about this guy, so am only referring to this one issue, but this really impressed me, not only for opposing mindless Islamophobia but for refusing to pussyfoot around. He didn’t waffle about people being ill informed, or understandably concerned or any other guff, he called them what they are, crazy & ignorant.

  7. Charon says:

    Sharia law LOL! What is wrong with people? Still haven’t had a single Islamaphob explain what Sharia law even is. The most common answer is “I don’t need to explain it. You know what it is” or “terrorism”

    Just for the lulz, I would love to see a prankster run for president with “Sharia law” as their platform. “The first thing I will do is force women to be fully covered, encourage rape, and declare war on Israel.” On second thought maybe not. People would think it was serious and it would be all over Fox News and CNN

  8. MRW says:

    Good for Christie!

  9. Kathleen says:

    Annie last night on MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnells “The Last Word” Lawrence and his team played the whole clip of Christie speaking truth. The whole team gave Christie a standing ovation. Unable to link from this computer the clip is over at “The Last Word”.


    • annie says:

      very cool kathleen, thanks. it’s good to hear this clip is getting the attention it deserves even if it took over a week.

  10. CigarGod says:

    Christie has courage on a difficult issue.