Barack Obama’s Muslim outreach adviser resigned after questions were raised about his ties to an imam linked to fundamental Middle Eastern groups.
Mazen Asbahi, who joined the campaign on July 26, stepped down on Monday after being contacted by the Wall Street Journal about his connections to Jamal Said, the imam of a Chicago-area mosque. The two men served together on the board of Allied Assets Advisors Fund which had ties to Hamas and to the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the Journal report.
“I am stepping down from the volunteer role I recently agreed to take on with the Obama campaign as Arab American and Muslim American outreach coordinator in order to avoid distracting from Barack Obama’s message of change,” Asbahi wrote in his resignation letter to the Obama campaign.
“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,” Asbahi wrote.
Said was named by the Justice Department last year as an unindicted co-conspirator in a trial related to Hamas’ fundraising practices.
“Mr. Asbahi has informed the campaign that he no longer wishes to serve in his volunteer position, and we are in the process of searching for a new national Arab American and Muslim American outreach coordinator,” the Obama campaign said.
On the Obama campaign’s website, Asbahi wrote about his role assisting the presumptive Democratic nominee.
“We need Muslim Americans to get excited about the campaign, and there’s a lot to get excited about! Sure, there have been missteps. And of course there are added sensitivities with our faith given the "smear" campaign trying to paint the Senator as too exotic and too un-American to be President."
Obama’s ties to another Muslim activist are seen as troubling. Obama made a presentation at a farewell dinner in 2003 for Rashid Khalidi. Khalidi has close ties to the Palestinian Liberation Organization
According to The Case Against Obama, a new book by David Freddoso (published by Regnery), Khalidi’s group — the Arab American Action Network — held a fundraiser for Obama in 2000, and the group is now working on an oral history project about the great “catastrophe” of Israel’s founding.