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By Adelle M. Banks
Religion News Service

WASHINGTON (RNS) Mazen Asbahi, the Chicago lawyer who recently was appointed as the Muslim outreach director for Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, has resigned less than two weeks after taking the job.
“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,” said campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt.
Asbahi told the campaign in an e-mail message Monday (Aug. 4) that questions about his brief affiliation with an Islamic investment fund caused him to resign.
“Since concerns have been raised about that brief time, I am stepping down from the volunteer role I recently agreed to take on with the Obama campaign … in order to avoid distracting from Barack Obama’s message of change,” Asbahi told the campaign.
Asbahi, who was appointed July 26, said he agreed to serve on the board of the Dow Jones Islamic Index Fund in 2000 but resigned within weeks when he learned of allegations against another board member.
The Wall Street Journal reported that at that time the board included Jamal Said, an Illinois imam whose mosque was controlled by fundamentalists. The newspaper also said Said was named by the Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator last year in a racketeering trial of alleged Hamas fund-raisers that ended in a mistrial.

Copyright 2008 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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