White House affirms confidence in its OIC envoy

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Washington, Feb.23 (ANI): The White House has expressed confidence in its envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), Rashad Hussain, despite the latter conceding last week that he made ill-considered statements in 2004 about Bush-era terrorism prosecutions.

"We continue to have confidence. This is an individual that has written extensively on why some have used religious devices like the Qur'an to justify this [terrorism] and why that is absolutely wrong. And has garnered support from both the left and the right so we obviously have confidence," Politico quoted White House Press Secretary Robert Gibb, as saying.

Hussain initially said he had no recollection of comments he was reported to have made in 2004 portraying the Bush Administration's treatment of alleged Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian and the handling other terrorism cases as "politically-motivated persecutions."

However, after Politico obtained an audio recording of the event, Hussain acknowledged that he made the comments and that he had earlier approached a magazine about removing them, which it did.

"I made statements on that panel that I now recognize were ill-conceived or not well-formulated," Hussain said.

Gibbs also repeated another part of Hussain's statement where he said he had "full faith in the outcome of" Al-Arian's criminal case, which resulted in him being sentenced to 57 months in prison after pleading guilty to a single felony count of aiding Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

A trial in the case resulted in acquittals on some charges and the jury deadlocked, though largely favor in acquittal, on other counts.

Al-Arian is presently in home detention as he awaits trial on a separate indictment for contempt of court stemming from his refusal to testify before a grand jury investigating Islamic groups in Virginia. (ANI)

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