Obama lauds Clinton aide accused of Islamist ties

At Ramadan dinner, US president calls Huma Abedin an "American patriot," after Bachmann's allegations of Muslim Brotherhood ties.

By REUTERS
August 11, 2012 05:56
2 minute read.
Obama speaks at Ramadan dinner

Obama speaks at Ramadan dinner 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama on Friday called Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, an "American patriot" after a group of Republican lawmakers accused her of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist political organization.

"She has been nothing less than extraordinary in representing our country and the democratic values that we hold dear," Obama said at a White House Iftar dinner celebrating the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


"The American people owe her a debt of gratitude because Huma is an American patriot and an example of what we need in this country -- more public servants with her sense of decency, her grace and her generosity of spirit."

In June, Representative Michele Bachmann along with four other Republican lawmakers questioned Abedin's security clearance in a letter to the State Department's inspector general. They suggested members of her family had connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, which the writers said may be seeking access to high levels of the US government.

"If my family members were associated with Hamas, a terrorist organization, that alone could be sufficient to disqualify me from getting a security clearance," Bachmann said on conservative host Glenn Beck's talk show.

Abedin, a Muslim, was seated on Obama's right at the dinner and appeared visibly moved as the president spoke to a room full of religious leaders, elected officials and diplomats.

Senior Republicans in Congress, including House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner and former presidential candidate John McCain, have rallied to Abedin's defense in recent weeks.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


Greater participation of female athletes at the Olympics was another focus of Friday's dinner. Obama noted that for the first time in Olympic history each team included a woman.

"One of the reasons is that every team from a Muslim-majority country now includes women as well," he said.

Since taking office, Obama has focused on strengthening ties with the Muslim world. At a speech in Cairo in 2009 he called for "a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world" based on "mutual interest and mutual respect."

Friday's dinner takes place amid a time of seminal change in the Middle East - home to over 300 million of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims. Over the past year, revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya have felled decades of authoritarian rule, tensions with Iran continue to escalate and a bloody 17-month uprising in Syria shows no signs of abating.

Thomas Jefferson held the first known White House Iftar in 1805, a sunset dinner in honor of Tunisia's envoy in Washington.

Highlights from Friday's menu two centuries later included greens from the White House kitchen garden with a tarragon dressing, a spiced Middle Eastern crisp bread called lavash, thyme roasted chicken and sesame halvah crunch for dessert.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Prince Show
October 15, 2018
Prince-orchestrated tribute to turn Israel purple

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF