"I think it is terrible to try to exclude someone from office based only on his religion"

Mohammed was eventually confirmed for the judgeship. But Christie was furious at the way he was treated, in part because of the crushing stupidity of the idea that New Jersey is going to become a Shariah state (I’ve read most of the writings of Osama bin Laden, and even his capacious vision of a reborn caliphate does not include Passaic County). What was worse, in Christie’s view, was the way state senators of both parties grilled Mohammed on his beliefs. At one point in his confirmation hearing, Christie told me, Mohammed was asked to define “jihad” — this, for a state judgeship!

“I was disgusted, candidly, by some of the questions he was asked by both parties at the Senate Judiciary Committee.” Christie said last week at a news conference. “This Shariah law business is crap. It’s just crazy, and I’m tired of dealing with the crazies. It’s just unnecessary to be accusing this guy of things just because of his religious background.”

Christie is not known to be soft on terrorism. He successfully prosecuted a group of Muslims who were conspiring to attack Fort Dix. So what angered him about Mohammed’s treatment?

“The lack of evidence,” he told me. “I’m sorry to invoke my law-enforcement experience, but we’ve had cases in New Jersey against Muslims in domestic terror cases, and there was evidence in those cases. I believe the determination about someone needs to be made on facts, not feelings.”