Archived: Secretary Clinton, Senator McCain Condemn Anti-Muslim Attack on Abedin

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vehemently defended her deputy chief of staff last week, after five Republican Congressional representatives falsely alleged that Muslim American Huma Abedin had ties to Islamic extremist group Muslim Brotherhood.


The congressional representatives (Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Trent Franks of Arizona, Thomas Rooney of Florida and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia) sent a 16-page letter to the State Department demanding an investigation of Abedin’s alleged connections to extremists and their infiltration and influence over the U.S. government.

Abedin, who is 37 years old and of Pakistani descent, was born in the United States. Her husband, former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, is Jewish.

The letter states that Abedin’s late father, mother and brother are “connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations” and “her position affords her routine access to the Secretary and to policy-making” is cause for “serious security concerns.”

Additionally, the representatives question how Abedin received her security clearance as “the foreign influence of immediate family members is such a concern to the U.S. Government that it includes these factors as potentially disqualifying conditions for obtaining a security clearance.”

Keith Ellison, the first Muslim congressman, compared the allegations with 1950s McCarthyism and an unfounded witch hunt. “It’s like a bizarre game of six degrees of separation. She mentions that her father, who has been dead for two decades, knew a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy who was connected to the Muslim brotherhood in some unspecified way,” Ellison told CBSNews.

Clinton said, according to the Huffington Post, that it is the duty of politicians “to speak out and protect diversity in their countries.”

Clinton praised other Republicans, including Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who have defended Abedin. She said: “We have to set an example, there is no doubt about that. And we have to continue to do so.”

Abedin’s sister, Heba Abedin, is promoting an online petition on her Twitter account @hebs23 and demanding an apology from Bachmann.

Leadership Matters

Clearly defined values, as Clinton stated, send the message to organizations they must have defined values that everyone understands. The message at the State Department that bigotry and the false allegations that accompany it are not allowed comes from Clinton and is consistent.

DiversityInc has numerous examples of why CEO commitment to diversity and inclusion matters dramatically in an organization. These include the ability to gain buy-in from everyone, including middle managers and white men, and, most importantly, instilling the value of diversity and inclusion to strategic business goals throughout the organization.

Rockwell Collins CEO, President and Chairman Clay Jones recently told DiversityInc:

“We work and have lived in pretty much a male, white dominated industry. So we had to bring in outside thoughts to educate us on how other people think to focus on the value of our differences as opposed to accentuating them for all the wrong reasons. It was through that training that my own thinking and the thinking of our leadership team really changed.”

Clinton, by publicly outing the five congressional representatives who made false accusations about Abedin, held them up to scrutiny for their actions.

Having a clear policy on what’s legal as well as what’s appropriate is important. Working with HR is also vital to ensure the messages are communicated to employees and there are enforceable penalties for misstatements.

Latest News

WOCA 2022 Research: How to Improve Representation of Women of Color in the Workplace 

Capital One and DiversityInc shared the results of their collaborative research report on women of color in the workplace at the 2022 annual Women of Color and Their Allies event held in Louisville on Sept. 21 in conjunction with Humana. Dr. Chris Parker, Head of Research & Data, DiversityInc, confirmed…

WOCA 2022: Executive Leaders Share Stories of Allyship for Women of Color

One of the best indicators of an organization’s success around diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is leadership accountability for DEI. At our 2022 Women of Color and Their Allies event, DiversityInc’s Head of Strategic Partnerships, Anita Ricketts, was joined on stage by leaders who are holding themselves and their contemporaries…

The Dollar Divide

Too Poor to Die: The Rising Cost of Funerals 

Death is expensive.  For more than two decades, I have extensively written and reported about money-related content and even I was surprised at the cost of my mother’s funeral.  The median cost of a funeral with a viewing and burial is approximately $7,848. That doesn’t include the cost of the…

Video: How Companies Are Ensuring Equity for People With Disabilities

The National Organization on Disability held its annual forum in Washington, D.C. last week, bringing together community leaders, advocates, government officials and corporate leaders and influencers to focus on the advancement of people with disabilities in the workplace. DiversityInc also met up with leaders from Capital One Financial (No. 22…

Validated Allies wallpaper

DiversityInc Announces 2022 Validated Allies

Allyship is a journey rather than a destination. The work of an ally never really ends and allies understand they are not necessarily always working toward a goal, but rather, serving a greater purpose. Each year, as part of our Women of Color and Their Allies event, DiversityInc recognizes a…

CDO Series: Sysco’s Adrienne Trimble

Following the murder of George Floyd, the role of Chief Diversity Officers has become more important as companies started to be more intentional with their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, which has made the last few years tumultuous for many CDOs. In the latest installment of a series of articles…