August 6th, 2008
02:43 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama's Muslim affairs coordinator resigns

Obama’s campaign says it is looking for a new Muslim outreach adviser.
Obama’s campaign says it is looking for a new Muslim outreach adviser.

(CNN) - After barely a week on the job, Barack Obama's Muslim outreach adviser resigned from the campaign after an old business connection with a fundamentalist Islamic imam surfaced last week.

Mazen Asbahi, a Chicago corporate lawyer, stepped down Monday after joining the campaign on July 26 as its national coordinator for Muslim affairs. The Wall Street Journal first reported the resignation on Tuesday night.

In a letter to the campaign, Asbahi wrote, "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 served on the board of the Delaware-based Allied Assets Advisors Fund for a brief period in 2000 with Jamal Said, the imam of a fundamentalist mosque outside Chicago, the Wall Street Journal reports. The report links Said to fundamentalist groups Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and says he was named by the Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator in the racketeering trial of suspected Hamas fundraisers that ended in a mistrial.

"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 in his letter to the campaign.

The fund is a subsidiary of a company that promotes a conservative brand of Islam and Asbahi regularly speaks to groups with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the newspaper reported.

"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," Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt wrote in an e-mail.

Obama has had to balance dispelling rumors that he is a Muslim while trying not to offend Muslims.

"This is a classic example of a no-win situation, right?" Obama responded at a forum for minority journalists on July 27 when asked if he will visit a mosque as a candidate.

"I have repeatedly on various occasions said I am not a Muslim, but this whole strategy of suggesting that I am is indicative of anti-Muslim sentiment that we have to fight against."

soundoff (201 Responses)
  1. joe

    poor obama. no imam?

    August 6, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  2. Fooled the sheople but not the people

    What barrel does Obama fish in?

    He is supposed to have perfect vision and perfect judgement...

    Except in judging character...

    How will he be able to spot friend from foe as president if he is this naive about those around him?

    August 6, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  3. Fooled the sheople but not the people

    No?

    Obama has perfect vision and exercises perfect judgement... except for thos all around him making his agenda for him.

    August 6, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  4. Z

    Obama is a fraud! He is trying to get elected as president of this country so he can destroy it.

    You better vote McCain if you want to survive in this country!

    August 6, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  5. tony

    Hey White Female-
    Nobody is being Racist except people like you-!!
    Your a disgrace-
    Live somewhere else-
    SEN> OBAMA has played the Race Card-
    " I don't look like any of those on the dollars of America "
    He is the nominee of your Party-
    There is no Racism-
    Your type are a disgrace-
    You should be setting an example-

    August 6, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  6. Tom

    Too late. Damage done thanks to this guy. The last thing Obama needs is Muslim outreach anyway. He needs outreach into the red states who are scared of him because of all the fake internet stories and strange 'look' compared to them.

    It's amazing that people don't use facts and ears to make decisions, they believe anything. Well, when the US has one of the lowest average IQ's, what do we expect?

    August 6, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. Fuhrer power

    This is a racist ploy.

    Obama does not err.

    Stop with these redneck attacks on our Leader.

    August 6, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. Supreme Leader

    Once Obama is president he can do WHAT he wants and he will no longer have to pander to the voters.

    Vote for the supreme leader.

    August 6, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  9. Independent-Latina-for-OBAMA

    TO "LARRYH WI" AND ALL FOLKS ON THIS BLOG:

    "LARRYH WI" MENTIONED A MAUREEN DOWD ARTICLE OF JUNE 29TH IN THE NEW YORK TIMES QUESTIONING SEN. OBAMA'S FUND RAISING ON THE INTERNET........THIS IS FALSE.........FALSE!

    I WENT ONLINE TO THE MAUREEN DOWD ARCHIVES AND CHECKED OUT THE ARTICLE FOR JUNE 29TH 2008, ITS TITLE WAS " IT'S OVER LADY" ........ AN ARTICLE ABOUT HILLARY CLINTON!!!!!

    WE ALL NEED TO BE CAREFUL ......NOT EVERYTHING IS TRUE, THERE ARE A LOT OF LIES ESPECIALLY TARGETING SEN. OBAMA.

    WHILE READING SOME OF HER RECENT ARTICLES THERE IS AN INTERESTING ONE ABOUT HOW MCCAIN'S "GREEN EYED MONSTER OF ENVY" IS SHOWING!

    August 6, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  10. Obama4ever

    Once he is president he can do what he wants and no one can stop him.

    Now he has to play the game for the ignorant rednecks and racists.

    Let him do what he must to win.

    Once in... it is Obamanation all the way.

    August 6, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  11. Not again...

    For all those who take pleasure in repeatedly posting the FABRICATED – that means LIE – story by Maureen Dowd - PLEASE check your facts!

    This was a viral email set up to look like it was really written by Dowd – but it was NOT and has been completely denounced by Maureen Dowd... AND thoroughly debunked!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/07/08/maureen-dowd-becomes-fict_n_111509.html

    Do 3 minutes of research people!

    August 6, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  12. Demogogue

    Leave the dazzling rock star alone.

    He isn't doing anything wrong... his judgement has been right on... for his eventual agenda.

    August 6, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  13. Rita, TN

    I don't understand this at all. This guy resigned because of another Muslim? What? What is this about?

    I think this country is so paranoid, why would you want people to reach out to Arab Americans, key word being Americans. We are getting sillier and sillier everyday.

    Inspite of this silliness I'm supporting Obama. The country is whack, we should learn from the young people. Let's try and get along, give peace a chance, etc.

    August 6, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  14. INDEPENDENT

    In my observation of CNN site, it appears they are always showing Obama's campain speeches live......where is McCain's? And why does CNN always close comments when responses start turning against Obama, but not against McCain? I cannot believe the bias of CNN and the rudeness of the Obama supporters. I would have liked to have seen more coverage of what is going on at Capitol Hill. I really do not like either canidate, but just from disgust of what I observe I tend to favor McCain. Thanks CNN you are making my choice a little easier.

    August 6, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  15. Eric

    Wow, people will look at anything to bring down Obama. I'm still struggling to understand how the same person can attack him for Rev. Wright while arguing he is a muslim. But the mind of an idiot is so more complicated to understand than a sane one.

    The likelyhood of a muslim having contact, through business, with someone having ties with Hamas or other organisation is 100%. This guy showed great judgement by resigning as soon as possible when he learned of those ties. But it will never be enough for the right wing anyway.

    Funny, considering Bush the first received the help of the Saudis with his company, the same Saudis who are responsible for the funding of all terrorist attacks against the US.

    Last point, about internet funding, I know it is maths from primary school but when you say internet contributions are around 20/25 $, it implies that the same person, every month, will give that amount of money over and over again. Second, only part of the money is coming from the internet, the other part comes from bigger donors.

    August 6, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  16. Grabbing for power

    Obama is too eager.

    He needs to wait until he is actually president- then he can destroy the country along with his friends.

    August 6, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  17. Another grumpy old white woman for Obama

    Oh for heavens sake! If I vetted all my friends I wouldn't have any!
    I would have to drop everybody who voted for GWB twice! This would include family members. Come on you Obama Haters. Quit trying to make up reasons not to vote for him. We know who and what you are.
    Maybe we should vett all voters. Anybody who knew anybody who knew anybody would be denied voting rights. Naw. That wouldn't work.
    Who would be left to do the vetting?

    Obama/Biden

    August 6, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  18. Hitler Chess

    Obama isn't very smart.

    He needs to wait until he controls the white house and power... before he installs his friends into position.

    August 6, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  19. gary

    THE BIG JOKE OBAMA AND HIS CIRCUS MEDIA. BRING IN THE CLOWN. AMERICA GETS WHAT THEY ASK FOR.

    August 6, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  20. Hitler youth for Obama

    Be patient!

    First Obama must steal the presidency.

    THEN he can install whoever he wants to do whatever THEY want.

    Too eager to grab that power.

    August 6, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  21. john williams san diego, ca.

    what's coming out of Osamas closet next??? His circle of advisers, friends and ministers seem to have a lot in common and it's not good for America.

    August 6, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  22. Fooled the sheople but not the people

    For THIS you swiftboated Hillary?

    God help us.

    We are in the hands of the youth and the left wing.

    August 6, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  23. Ron democrat turned independent

    what seems to be loss in all the you did, no you did, rhetoric going on is that the person elected will be in charge to a great degree of your future. that person's character should give us a pretty good understanding of his true motives. i think CNN and all the media should unbiastly check into these candidates background. they being in the business more than anybody recognize what the power of advertising can do and how it can manipulate. i think they owe it to the voters to use this knowledge to protect us.

    August 6, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  24. NC Man

    YET AGAIN quality judgment by Obama and his camp ..... we are is serious trouble if he becomes POTUS

    August 6, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  25. Candy West Virginia

    He shouldn't have resigned, he didn't need to. John McCain's crooks on his campaign are still working for him.

    August 6, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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