Haslam rebukes critics of Muslim aide

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has issued his strongest defense yet of a Muslim aide who has been criticized for once working in the field of Shariah compliant finance.

The governor was asked after speech to a Nashville Republican group on Wednesday whether he was incorporating elements of Islamic law into state government. Those allegations began to emerge after the Haslam administration earlier this year hired Samar Ali to work in the Department of Economic and Community Development.

Haslam said Tuesday that Ali has done nothing to deserve the criticism, and that she has been "incredibly unfairly maligned."

Haslam deputy Claude Ramsey in August wrote a letter to GOP leaders in an effort to dispel confusion over Ali's role and to underline the state's rejection of the promotion of any religion.


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