SEPTEMBER 15, 2008 : (SPRINGFIELD, VA : OBAMA CAMPAIGN MUSLIM OUTREACH MEETING -- SEE NIHAD AWAD, MAHDI BRAY, MAZEN ASBAHI, CAIR, HOLY LAND FOUNDATION) The Obama campaigns Muslim outreach director participated in a meeting in mid September that was attended by several controversial Muslim activists, NBC News has learned. The Obama campaign now concedes that was a misjudgment, and that its top Muslim staffer would not have attended the meeting if she had known the full participant list beforehand.
Would a campaign staffer have attended if they were aware of the complete list of attendees? No, said Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt in an email statement to NBC.
The Muslim outreach meeting On September 15, newly named Muslim outreach director Minha Husaini spoke to a small group of Muslim leaders and potential Obama supporters at a hotel in Springfield, Virginia, several meeting participants and the campaign said. Two other Obama-affiliated Democratic Party workers joined Husaini and also spoke to the crowd. Some Virginia and Washington, D.C.-based Muslim activists and interested citizens attended, and flyers were passed out from Arab Americans for Obama stating Sen. Obamas goals for achieving peace in the Middle East, protecting the civil liberties of Arab Americans and ending the war in Iraq.... [snip]
Chicago-based lawyer Mazen Asbahi also attended the meeting. He is the Obama campaigns former Muslim outreach coordinator, who abruptly resigned in August after the Wall Street Journal and websites that track fundamentalist Islam began questioning Asbahis involvement in an Islamic investment fund and various Islamic groups. When reached by NBC News, Asbahi would not comment about the September gathering or his brief stint eight years ago on an investment fund board which also included a fundamentalist imam.
When informed that Asbahi had attended the recent meeting, an Obama spokesman said: Mazen Asbahi resigned from his role as the campaigns Muslim American outreach coordinator and was replaced--he is not an employee of the campaign and does not speak on behalf of the campaign.