White House denies NASA Administrator’s comments on Muslim outreach roleJuly 13th, 2010 - 4:29 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, July 13 (ANI): White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has said that NASA Administrator Charles Bolden must have misspoken when he told Al Jazeera last month that one of his top priorities was to reach out to Muslim countries.
He also denied that Bolden was asked by Obama to focus on Muslim outreach at all.
“That was not his task and that’s not the task of NASA,” Fox News quoted Gibbs, as saying.
Earlier, Bolden claimed that the US President Barack Obama told him that one of his top priorities was to “find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering.”
The White House also backed Bolden last week when his remarks first stirred controversy.
A White House spokesman said on Tuesday that Obama wants NASA to engage with the world’s best scientists and that to meet that challenge, NASA must “partner with countries around the world like Russia and Japan, as well as collaboration with Israel and with many Muslim-majority countries.”
NASA last week walked back Bolden’s claim that Muslim outreach was the “perhaps foremost” plank of his mission, saying that Bolden was merely talking about his “outreach” responsibilities and that space exploration is still NASA’s No. 1 job.
The Muslim comments were met with a wall of criticism last week from conservatives and former NASA officials who said that while Muslim-nation outreach is laudable, it should not be a NASA priority. (ANI)
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