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Neocon flak: Weiner may have converted to Islam

13 June 2011 General 7 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

by Justin Elliot (

We thought everything that could be said about Anthony Weiner’s lewd photo scandal had been said. But Eliana Benador, a former influential neoconservative public relations operative, has proved us wrong.

Writing for the “Communities” section of the Washingtom Times’ website, Benador argues that the Twitter scandal shows that … the Jewish Weiner might have converted to Islam!

Benador, who is currently the U.S.-based “goodwill ambassador” for a group of Jewish settlers in the West Bank, advances an argument that is fairly difficult to follow, but it seems to go like this: Because a New York imam was quoted in the press seeming to take Weiner’s side in the matter, and because Muslims (supposedly) practice deception as part of their faith, it’s possible that Weiner is secretly a Muslim convert who is still presenting himself to the world as a Jew.

She writes:

The Imam of New York has stated: “I would tell her [Huma] to be a little bit patient. In our book, if you think your wife, or husband, is doing something unacceptable, you start by counseling her.”

Counseling? For whom, Huma or Anthony? The Imam’s statement seems to state that Huma is in need.

Regardless, those are words of compromise offered by a leading Muslim Imam trying to make us forget that the Koran actually advocates stoning wives for adultery while turning a blind eye toward the sexual mis-deeds of the husband.

It is also important, when looking at this situation, to remember that observant Muslims practice Taqiyya , an element of sharia that states there is a legal right and duty to distort the truth to promote the cause of Islam. …

Given the defense articulated by the Imam, which would be offered only for a Muslim man, we must believe this opportunity to remove this Muslim woman from a union with an non-believer would be quickly taken. Therefore we must consider that Mr. Weiner *may* have converted to Islam, because if he did not, we have to consider the unlikely, that being that Ms. Abedin has abandoned her Muslim faith, even while she still practices.

(It’s worth noting here that “The Imam of New York” is not an actual title, and she is pretty clearly taking this imam’s quote out of context.)

Benador also wonders in the column if Huma has “been groomed to access leading political movers and shakers to advance the cause of Islam in America, including a politically positioned marriage to Congressman Anthony Weiner?”

Benador is no random blogger. She was the president of the now-defunct Benador Associates, a public relations firm that was active in the run-up to the Iraq war getting media exposure for such influential hawks as Michael Rubin, Richard Perle, Laurie Myrloie, and former CIA director Jim Woolsey. An article in the Guardian described pictures of her at a party with Joseph Lieberman. And one of her clients famously (and falsely) claimed in a 2006 newspaper column that Iran had instituted a Nazi-style dress code for Jews.

The bottom of the “Communities” section notes that “contributors are responsible for this content, which is not edited by The Washington Times.” But an editor did apparently delete one paragraph from Benador’s column, leaving this note: “(Correction: Paragraph removed for inaccuracies.  Apologies are issued and we regret the error.  The Communities).”

I’ve asked the Communities editor for comment on what that error was.

In any case, the fact that Weiner married a Muslim woman has long been the subject of rumblings in certain corners of the right-wing blogosphere.

(Hat tip: Benjy Sarlin)

Justin Elliott is a Salon reporter. Reach him by email at and follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin More: Justin Elliott

Original post: Neocon flak: Weiner may have converted to Islam


  1. LMAO!!! The republicans keep saying stupid stuff like this and they will never win 2012!

  2. This is just yet another case of an Islamaphobe attempting to bash Islam with little to no knowledge (or truth) about the deen of Islam or its practices. And this particular incident is completely unrelated to Islam. But any chance they get to bash Islam, they’ll take it!

    It is now commonplace for these hateful, lying Islamaphobes to “mis-define” the word taqiyya as “to distort the truth to promote the cause of Islam….” when that is a far, far cry off from the actual definition (“to hide one’s faith for fear of death from an enemy” — a solely Shiite practice). A vast majority of the world’s population of Muslims not only don’t practice this, but have only heard of taqiyya and it’s “new-jack” definition when the Islamaphobes created their own definition for the word while they lie against Islam and Muslims!

    For Islamaphobes to make this claim, it would be similar to the (lie) claim that “ALL Americans are Black“, based on the mere 13% of Americans who are actually Black.

    Those in the media need to show more responsibility to do independent research of neutral sources (not Islamaphobic ones) when writing articles as they relate to Islam and Muslims.

    This Benador woman obvious failed in her journalistic responsibility to do such research, let alone succeeding at taking the imam’s words out of context.

  3. In attempt to scare off those that speak the truth about Islam, Muslims and their supporters continually toss out the term “Islamophobia”. They claim we are just being phobic of sorts towards their religion. That we are not fully understanding it so in turn are afraid of it. However, they seem to be the only ones, presently, running around killing and calling for the killing of “non-believer”. Where are we not understanding them ? How are we to change our attitudes towards them when they spew the hate they do? Also, how would the media and people of the world view Christians if we were the ones blowing up building and killing non believers ? A phobia is a fear of something. I am not afraid of Islam. I am alerted to the danger it is to our freedoms.

  4. So what if he did.That is between him and his wife.

  5. Rick,

    Who is they, exaclty?

    Why are you arbitrarily designating “they” as Muslims, when in fact “they” are political radicals branding their violence under the banner of Islam, so as to garner more support. I HIGHLY doubt you have ever encountered one single Muslim calling for your death, or anyone else’s for that matter. What relationship does the Taliban (a radical group primarily in Afghanistan whose members aren’t even religious for the most part) have with an American Muslim???? If this is a fair comparison, then please tell me if it would also be fair to associate American Christians with the Christians in Uganda calling for the death penalty for homosexuality…Religion is only one aspect of a person’s identity. A Muslim in Sudan and a Muslim in Britain will certainly have different world views, perspectives and cultures.

    And actually, given the current mainstream discourse about Muslims and Islam happening in the West, it is not at all difficult for Muslims in other countries to interpret America’s various wars in the Middle East as us “running around killing and calling for the killing of “non[Christian]-believers”. Far more Iraqis and Afghanis have died in these wars than Americans. Is it fair for them to view all Christians as evil and violent because America, a predominantly Christian nation, is killing their citizens?

  6. Hannah, it would be nice if the News outlets from the middle east agreed with you. If they did they would not call these people who commit these crimes and die Martyrs. I agree with the Muslim women who have a Jihad against violence and are willing to state that these people are outside or severely misunderstand the Islamic faith. Of course I know that you have no control over the news outlets, but if enough Muslims write, call, complain maybe they will change how they report the news.

  7. hannah,

    is it not fact that muslims believe the koran and hadiths to be “gods’s law”? of course we as americans kill far more non-americans. does not allah kill non-muslims? was not the angels sent down to “cut off their heads and every fingertip” in the battle of badr?????????? is not your god a war monger???????


    Volume 8, Book 82, Number 794:

    Narrated Anas:

    Some people from the tribe of ‘Ukl came to the Prophet and embraced Islam. The climate of Medina did not suit them, so the Prophet ordered them to go to the (herd of milch) camels of charity and to drink, their milk and urine (as a medicine). They did so, and after they had recovered from their ailment (became healthy) they turned renegades (reverted from Islam) and killed the shepherd of the camels and took the camels away. The Prophet sent (some people) in their pursuit and so they were (caught and) brought, and the Prophets ordered that their hands and legs should be cut off and that their eyes should be branded with heated pieces of iron, and that their cut hands and legs should not be cauterized, till they die.

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