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White House pushes back on GOP attacks on Muslim judicial nominee

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WASHINGTON — The White House is slamming three Republican senators for leveling what it deems to be “cruel and Islamophobic attacks” at a Biden judicial nominee as part of a larger “smear effort” to discredit the man, who would be the first Muslim American judge to serve on the federal appeals court if he is confirmed.

GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Tom Cotton of Arkansas are being called out specifically for a “malicious” line of questioning about circuit court nominee Adeel Mangi’s views on Hamas militants’ terrorist attack in Israel on Oct. 7 at his December confirmation hearing. That led to a broader attack from the Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative judicial advocacy organization.

“While Mangi served on its board of advisors, the [Rutgers Law School Center for Security, Race, and Rights] taught students to hate Israel and America and to support global terrorism, blaming America for the 9/11 terrorist attacks — and most recently blaming Israel for the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7th,” the group wrote in a statement released Monday.

The White House said conservatives’ criticisms were driven by Islamophobia.

“Mr. Mangi has been subjected to uniquely hostile attacks, in a way other nominees have not — precisely because of his Muslim faith,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement first shared with NBC News. “Senators Cruz, Hawley, and Cotton owe Mr. Mangi an apology.”

“He represents the best of America, and when confirmed, Mr. Mangi will not only make history — he will make an outstanding judge,” Bates added.

The senators told NBC News they remain opposed to Mangi’s candidacy, with a Cotton spokesperson accusing him in a message of “ties to antiSemites,” a Cruz spokesperson saying the White House “can’t defend Adeel Mangi’s record” and a Hawley spokesperson saying of Mangi that “people who advise pro-terrorist campus groups have no place on the federal bench.”

All three cited Mangi’s involvement in the Rutgers Law School Center for Security, Race, and Rights and condemned its decision to host an event on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which featured as a speaker Sami Al-Arian, who pleaded guilty in 2006 to conspiracy to provide services to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The Biden administration is under pressure to improve its standing with Muslim and Arab American communities following its vocal support of Israel in its war against Hamas in Gaza.

President Joe Biden nominated Mangi to serve as a judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Philadelphia, last fall.

The Anti-Defamation League, which battles antisemitism, said Mangi was “subjected to aggressive questioning unrelated to his professional expertise or qualifications,” and it criticized the Republican senators for “berating” Mangi “with endless questions that appear to have been motivated by bias towards his religion.”

“This was an attempt to create controversy where one did not exist,” the ADL said last month.

Weeks later, the Judicial Crisis Network launched a digital ad campaign against Mangi, alleging he is antisemitic and “radical.”

Bates, the White House spokesman, wrote, “Mr. Mangi has forcefully and repeatedly condemned Antisemitism, terrorism, and the October 7th terrorist attacks.”

At the hearing, Cruz repeatedly asked Mangi whether he condemned the atrocities of the Hamas terrorists and whether there was “any justification for those atrocities.”

“I have no patience ― none ― for any attempts to justify or defend those events,” Mangi said in December in reference to the Oct. 7 attacks.

Nonprofit groups dedicated to combating Islamophobia in the U.S. have spoken out in Mangi’s defense, as well.

“The deplorable smear campaign against him is steeped in Islamophobic tropes that have no place in our country,” Arsalan Suleman, the CEO of America Indivisible, told NBC News in a statement. “The Senate should confirm Mr. Mangi as soon as possible and condemn these malicious and spurious attacks.”

So far, 177 of Biden’s nominees to be federal judges have been confirmed. More than 65% are women and 65% are people of color, according to the White House.

Biden has nominated and Congress has confirmed more Black women to life-tenured federal judgeships than during any previous administration, according to the White House, including Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.

While Mangi has cleared the Judiciary Committee process in the Democratic-led Senate, it’s unclear when his nomination will be brought up for a vote in the next procedural step before a confirmation vote.

If he is confirmed, Mangi would be only the third Muslim American federal judge ever.

Mangi has served on the board of directors of the Muslim Bar Association of New York, the Legal Aid Society of New York and Muslims for Progressive Values and as an ally board member for the National LGBT Bar Association, according to his biographical page at the law firm Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, where he is a partner.

Culled from the NBC

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Senator Cory Booker Leads a Congressional Delegation to Nigeria

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Photo: Senator Cory Booker (In the back) and a Diplomat from the US Department of State, joins with members of the Academy for Women Alumnae Association including Mercy Ogori of Kokomi Africa and Adebisi Odeleye of Moore Organics.

Senator Cory also met women entrepreneurs from the Academy for Women Alumnae Association

Last week, US Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey led a congressional delegation to Nigeria, which included House of Representatives members Sara Jacobs and Barbara Lee from California. The purpose of the visit was to discuss a partnership on sustainable development. During the talks, Nigerian President Bola Tinubu expressed his administration’s dedication to strengthening democracy through upholding the rule of law and ensuring good governance, justice, and fairness for all citizens. Senator Booker emphasized the shared values of democracy, the rule of law, and commitment to peace and good governance that bind Nigeria and the United States as partners.

The delegation also met with women entrepreneurs from the Academy for Women Alumnae Association, who had participated in US-sponsored exchange programs. Led by Adebisi Odeleye of Moore Organics, the businesswomen shared their experiences and discussed their entrepreneurial endeavors. Other Academy members were Mandela Washington Fellow, Nkem Okocha of Mama Moni, Inemesit Dike of LegalX, and Mercy Ogori of Kokomi.

The partnership between the United States and Nigeria has lasted over six decades, focusing on addressing security challenges, enhancing health security, and responding to global health crises. Despite obstacles like corruption, poverty, and insecurity, the US remains dedicated to supporting Nigerian institutions and promoting free, fair, transparent, and peaceful elections.

During the visit to the State House, Senator Booker reiterated the shared values of democracy, the rule of law, and commitment to peace and good governance that unite Nigeria and the United States as partners.

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Breakforth Summit Houston 2024 “Worship & Healing Encounter” debuts in Houston

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In two weeks, citizens from across the city of Houston will spring into the new season with the official launching of a transformational faith-based praise, worship, and healing experience that guarantees to bring full restoration, excitement, and joy into the lives of many!

Pastors Dr. Andy Osakwe and Ndidi Osakwe (who recently arrived in the city to meet with fellow faith-based leaders) will host the inaugural Breakforth Summit Houston 2024 “Worship & Healing Encounter” (Presented by AOMI and Mission USA) on Sunday, April 7th at The Power Center’s ‘Community Collective for Houston’ (12401 South Post Oak). The on-site event will be located inside the Jesse H. Jones Ballroom and event doors will open promptly at 5 PM.

Join pastors Dr. Andy Osakwe and Ndidi Oaskwe as they host this transformative healing encounter infused with soul-lifting worship from gospel music’s finest, led by international gospel star recording artist Pastor Nathaniel Bassey, Lakewood Church worship leader, Pastor Fiona Mellett, popular Houston-based worship leader and Pastor Dr. Ronke Adekosan, and recording artist, social media faith influencer Minister Melissa Bethea.

The Sunday evening celebration will feature a variety of well-known and emerging faith leaders and musical performances that will usher the audiences through prayer declarations, reading of scripture, praise and worship sessions, laying of hands, deliverance, and testimonials. Over fifty faith-based practitioners worldwide will be present to help orchestrate an experience that will deeply transform the lives of many from within. The event will present an opportunity for individuals from all walks of life and faith to join together in an environment that will spread love, encouragement, and support for all of mankind. Complimentary child care is available for children between the ages of 4 and 10.

Additionally, the Breakforth Summit Houston 2024 “Worship & Healing Encounter” will serve as an official launch pad and countdown for Pastors Andy and Ndidi’s official Houston church and ministry planting in continuation of their successful global ministry work. It is the hope and desire of the pastors to support communities to overcome adversities faced in life regularly. Dr. Andy Osakwe is the founder and overseer of the Summit Bible Church and president of Andrew Osakwe Ministries International.

Ultimately, Dr. Andy’s hope and desire to establish a worship and healing experience speaks for itself. “It will be a phenomenal and highly impactful spiritual encounter that will result in restorative liberty and transformation, which will usher in a new season of fruitfulness and personal advancement for each person in attendance.”

For Press & Media Inquiries (832) 941-8952 evomahcomm@gmail.com

To learn more about the Breakforth Summit 2024 registration and volunteer opportunities, please visit the official event website online at  www.breakforthsummit.com/htx or to keep up with the latest updates from Dr. Andy and Ndidi Osakwe, please visit www.andrewosakweministries.org.

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Fani Willis Judge Rules that Trump Cannot Hire Co-Defendant – He’s Black

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Judge Scott McAfee, who is presiding over the sweeping election interference case against former President Donald Trump and his allies, is not allowing co-defendant Harrison Floyd to work for Trump’s 2024 campaign.

McAfee denied Floyd’s request to revise his bond agreement in a short order on Thursday. Floyd, who led Black Voices for Trump four years ago, asked the judge last month to loosen the conditions of his bond so that he could work on Trump’s presidential campaign and speak about Trump on social media. McAfee had said, at the time, that he’d be open to modifications so that Floyd could speak about current events.

Floyd, who was indicted on three felony counts stemming from his efforts to help Trump overturn his loss in Georgia, is currently prohibited from having contact with the witnesses and other co-defendants in the case. He was also banned from speaking about them on social media after he posted comments that some witnesses interpreted as threatening.

Floyd, a senior campaign staffer for Trump’s 2020 campaign, was indicted alongside the former president and 17 others for violating Georgia’s racketeering laws in August. Floyd was also charged with influencing a witness and conspiracy to commit solicitation of false statements. Trump and Floyd have both pleaded not guilty.

According to the indictment, Floyd allegedly harassed Fulton County election worker Ruby Freeman after she refused to change the results of the county’s vote in the 2020 election.

He was the only one of the 19 defendants in the case to spend time behind bars at the Fulton County Jail. Floyd, unlike the other defendants, turned himself in without a lawyer or bond agreement on August 24. He was not released until August 30 after his lawyer negotiated a $100,000 bond.

Floyd is also facing federal charges for allegedly assaulting two FBI agents who were sent to serve him with a grand jury subpoena.

In November, McAfee had rejected a call from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis‘ office to revoke Floyd’s bond and jail him, citing recent social media posts that prosecutors said “demonstrate that he poses a significant threat of intimidating witnesses.” McAfee found no intimidation in any of those posts but found a technical violation because Floyd tagged witnesses in the posts. As a result, he banned Floyd from making any posts about those involved in the Georgia case.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last month that Floyd attorney Christopher Kachouroff told McAfee his client wanted to resume his role as a paid Trump campaign operative, which would involve communications with the former president or other co-defendants in the case.

Kachouroff also said Floyd wanted to speak about his case over social media to help raise money for his legal defense. Many of the other co-defendants have started crowdsourcing donations for their legal fees.

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