- (Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)
A group of 42 organizations have condemned Rep. Michele Bachmann and four of her colleagues for criticizing the Muslim Brotherhood and naming Huma Abedin and her family as Americans who keep close ties to the group.
The forty-plus religious and secular groups that issued the letter condemning Bachmann's actions include the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, American Civil Liberties Union, Secular Coalition of American, NAACP, American Atheists, Catholics for Choice, United Methodist Church and the Unitarian Universalist Association.
"Those you accuse – including Ms. Huma Abedin and leaders of the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and Muslim Advocates – have long-standing histories of positive and committed work to strengthen the United States of America. Furthermore, we take offense to the implications of your actions for the American Muslim community, as a whole, as you give momentum to 'guilt by association' accusations and betray our foundational religious freedoms."
Bachmann, along with four other Republican Congressmen that include Reps. Thomas Rooney (Fla.), Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.), Louie Gohmert (Texas) and Trent Franks of Arizona sent letters to four government agencies, asking them to investigate the influence the Muslim Brotherhood had on certain key individuals within the government ranks.
The letter specifically targeted Huma Abedin, a special assistant to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The initial letters were sent to the inspectors general of the Departments of State, Homeland Security, Defense, Justice and Office of the Director of National Intelligence in mid-June. However, the controversy did not take off until Sen. John McCain spoke against the members' actions on the Senate Floor earlier this month.
Since then Bachmann has been under fire from various individuals and groups, including House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Yet not everyone lined up against Bachmann. On Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) came to her defense during an interview with CBS' Charlie Rose.
"I think that if you read some of the reports that have covered the story, I think that her concern was about the security of the country," said Cantor.
The Virginia congressman also said America was a diverse country that included many minority faiths.
"I feel very strongly about the fact that we are a nation of inclusion. We're built on the waves of immigrants that have come to these shores," Cantor said. "I myself am a member of a minority faith and have enjoyed the ability to pursue and practice that faith unlike I could anywhere else in the world."