The Obama campaign’s Arab- and Muslim-American liaison resigned after revelations of a brief association with a radical imam.
Mazen Asbahi quit Monday because he did not want to be a “distraction” to the presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), The Wall Street Journal reported.
Asbahi, a prominent Chicago lawyer, for a few weeks in 2000 had served on the board of the Allied Assets Advisors Fund affiliated with the North American Islamic Trust.
Also serving on the board at that time was Jamal Said, an imam at a Chicago-area mosque known for his radical views. Said raised funds for the defense of figures charged with fund raising for the radical Palestinian group Hamas.
Said was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in that case, which ended in a mistrial last year.
“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 said in his resignation letter. It is not clear whether the member who prompted Asbahi’s resignation was Said.
The revelations were first raised by The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report, an Internet newsletter that tracks what it says are offshoots in the West of the Muslim Brotherhood, the radical Islamist group founded in Egypt decades ago.
It cites Asbahi’s association with the Islamic Society of North America as further evidence of links with organizations with roots in the Muslim Brotherhood.
In recent years, some mainstream Jewish groups have forged alliances with the Islamic Society, noting its increasing moderation and its explicit repudiation of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.