New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, often described as a "rock star" in the Republican Party, has finally addressed the criticism of his courtship of Islamists. On July 24, Christie held an Iftar dinner at the Governor's Mansion, attended by Imam Mohammad Qatanani, a Hamas-linked cleric whose deportation is sought by the Department of Homeland Security. Christie reiterated his support for Qatanani and made the case to his Muslim audience that he is their ally by ridiculing the "bigots" attacking him.
Christie opens by talking about the attacks on "our relationship" (between him and, as he would characterize it, the Muslim community of N.J.) that show a "gaze of intolerance that's going around our country that is disturbing." You can watch the entire speech on YouTube.
He mocked his critics, saying "You'll all be fascinated to learn that in many publications around the country, I'm called an Islamist." No one ever said he is an Islamist himself and only a handful of writers have covered the controversy, including myself,, the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Dr. Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer and my fellow N.J. resident, Andrew McCarthy.