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Zakat Eligible

Numerous Muslim scholars have confirmed that Zakat is payable to organizations that exist to serve the Muslim community by protecting their rights. This is because the work done by CAIR (and other such organizations) can be classified as fi-sabilillah, which is one of the eight categories of Zakat recipients detailed in the Quran (Chapter 9, Verse 60).

Zakat Eligible

Numerous Muslim scholars have confirmed that Zakat is payable to organizations that exist to serve the Muslim community by protecting their rights. This is because the work done by CAIR (and other such organizations) can be classified as fi-sabilillah, which is one of the eight categories of Zakat recipients detailed in the Quran (Chapter 9, Verse 60).

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LATEST NEWS

CAIR-NJ Applauds Governor Murphy’s Welcoming Afghan Refugees, Stands Ready to Assist with Resettlement    

CAIR-NJ Applauds Governor Murphy’s Welcoming Afghan Refugees, Stands Ready to Assist with Resettlement    

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 8/24/2021) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today applauded Governor Phil Murphy for his letter to President Biden welcoming Afghan refugees into the State of New Jersey. The CAIR-NJ office also offered assistance to the Governor’s office and any organized resettlement and relief effort for Afghan refugees entering New Jersey.

 

SEE: Letter from Governor Phil Murphy  

https://twitter.com/govmurphy/status/1429462426240626693?s=21

Tweet from Governor Phil Murphy

https://twitter.com/govmurphy/status/1429818465221816326?s=21

 

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said:

“We applaud Governor Murphy’s statements welcoming Afghan refugees into New Jersey. It is especially honorable that the Governor would take such a stance when far too many political leaders across the nation are stoking xenophobia and Islamophobia at the thought of more Muslims entering the United States. Elected officials who stand firm against racism and ​fear-mongering help keep everyone safe, especially vulnerable refugees and diaspora communities.  

“The people of Afghanistan would not be fleeing their homes today if it were not for decades of shameful US intervention. Therefore, it is our government’s responsibility to provide Afghans with safe refuge. If we care about human rights, we should welcome any Afghan wishing to immigrate to America.  

“Learning from our history is the only way to move forward. We hope to join Governor Murphy in welcoming Afghan refugees with open arms and ensuring their safety in New Jersey. Resettlement will not be easy. Our CAIR New Jersey office and the New Jersey Muslim community stand ready to offer their support to anyone wishing to make this state their new home.”

 

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

END 

CAIR-NJ, CJPD Applaud NJ DOE Commissioner’s Decision Upholding School Ethics Commission Penalty for Piscataway BOE Member Over Islamophobic Flyer 

CAIR-NJ, CJPD Applaud NJ DOE Commissioner’s Decision Upholding School Ethics Commission Penalty for Piscataway BOE Member Over Islamophobic Flyer 

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 8/24/2021) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today applauded a decision by Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education Angelica Allen-McMillan to uphold the School Ethics Commission’s penalty of censure for Piscataway BOE Member Nitang Patel over his Islamophobic flyer.

That case was filed with the support of CAIR-NJ and Central Jersey Progressive Democrats (CJPD).

 

SEE: Civil Rights Advocates, Community Leaders Applaud NJ DOE Commissioner’s Decision Upholding School Ethics Commission Penalty for Piscataway BOE Member Over Islamophobic Flyer Circulated by Local Democrats 

https://www.insidernj.com/press-release/civil-rights-advocates-community-leaders-applaud-nj-doe-commissioners-decision-upholding-school-ethics-commission-penalty-piscataway-boe-member-islamophobic-flyer-circula/

 

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said:

“We welcome the Acting Commissioner’s decision to censure Mr. Patel. Inflammatory rhetoric stoking anti-Muslim sentiment for political gain should never serve as the base of a political campaign. Vilifying Muslims in the political arena is unfortunately an all-too-common tactic that should never be tolerated.” 

 

CAIR-NJ Civil Rights Attorney Nina Rossi said:

“Censure is the appropriate penalty not only because Patel’s action in signing the Islamophobic flyer as a school board member without a disclaimer was egregious and intentional, but because the Acting Commissioner’s decision sends a clear message to school board members that if they fail to adhere to the code of ethics there will be serious consequences.” 

 

In a statement on the decision, Dr. Nazir said: 

“I applaud the decision by the Acting Commissioner and the NJ School Ethics Commission. This is a win for responsibility, fairness and, most of all, for our community. It is a loss for those who spread hate and fear. I am very thankful for the support and help of my diverse community who stood with me during this hard time and spoke out against this Islamophobic flyer and a divisive, hateful campaign to damage our unity. Members of our Township may be different in color, faith, race, ethnicity, or national origin, but most of us are united as one against all forms of hate. 

 

“I am grateful for this decision, as it sets an example and a standard for the rest of the culprits who promoted and funded this divisiveness.  They have still not apologized to me or been held responsible in any way. Flyer funder State Sen. Bob Smith issued a general statement, but never apologized to me. There’s been complete silence by the flyer’s signatories Council President Kapil Shah and Zoning Board member Kalpesh Patel, along with flyer’s distributors Paulette Crabiel Wahler and Dennis Espinosa. They were all directly involved and should apologize for their shameful behavior and be reprimanded by their colleagues. 

 

“Holding all of these people accountable is part of the healing process for our community.  We cannot have the unity we need and deserve until they take responsibility for their actions. I hope the Township Council, Zoning Board and the Democratic Organizations involved will penalize these individuals, like the School Ethics Commission has done to Nitang Patel, so all our neighbors know whether they support this hate or not. We cannot sweep their participation under the rug. We need to repair all of the harm done by this flyer and we will not rest until justice is secured.” 

 

In a statement, Yael Bromberg, Esq. of Bromberg Law LLC said:

“This decision sends a message to youth and community members that the state will not permit local government to unethically traffic in ethnic divisions and stereotypes, at least with regard to school board members.”

 

In a statement, Staci Berger, CJPD President said:

“This flyer was a blatant and awful attempt by the Smith-Wahler political machine to divide our community based on ethnicity and religion, and has no place in our diverse Township.  It is just one example of what these so-called “democrats” will do to stay in power. Whether it’s their opposition to residents’ call to secure open government by broadcasting public meetings, launching personal attacks on people who oppose building warehouses next to elementary schools or trafficking in Islamophobic messages, it is clear that they do not care about ethics, decency or democracy.”

 

BACKGROUND: 

Patel was on the slate of candidates elected in 2018 who ran under the slogan Better, Safer Schools (“BSS”). He is not seeking re-election when his term ends later this year, and neither are any of his running mates, including the current BOE President Shelia Hobson. Instead, continuing a pattern of underhanded political behavior, allies of the BSS slate have chosen to run under the slogan “Putting Students First” in an obvious attempt to cause voter confusion by appropriating the slogan of the “Putting Kids First” slate, which successfully ran against the BSS slate in 2020, and is running a slate of candidates again in 2021.

The case was brought on behalf of Dr. Nazir by Yael Bromberg, Esq. of Bromberg Law LLC and Nina Rossi, Esq. of the Council on American-Islamic Relations of NJ (CAIR-NJ) with support from CJPD. The decision may be appealed to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court within 45 days.

In June 2019, Patel was one of three signatories on a flyer that was paid for by state Senator Bob Smith and distributed by Paulette Crabiel Wahler (wife of Piscataway Mayor Wahler) and her running mate Dennis Espinosa, who were then candidates for County Committee Member running with the support of the Middlesex County Democratic Organization (MCDO).

The flyer was translated into Gujarati and distributed to Indian-American households of the Hindu faith. The flyer failed to include required disclaimers and trafficked in dog-whistle politics to exploit a foreign conflict and divide ethnic groups in Piscataway, NJ. Although he was not running for office, the flyer named Dr. Atif Nazir, an outspoken and admired Muslim former BOE member, and called the opposing slate “a radical group under the leadership of Atif Nazir that wants to take over our township government. We cannot let that happen.”

Other signatories on the flyer were Zoning Board member Kalpesh Patel and Council President Kapil Shah, who exhorted members of the Indian-American community to support the MCDO candidates to prevent their local government from being taken over by a “radical group” at the helm of a Muslim leader.

Following a hearing before Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Ascione, and an appeal by Dr. Nazir from the ALJ’s ruling, the SEC and Commissioner agreed that Patel violated three sections of the School Ethics Act: NJSA 18A:12-24.1(e), (f) and (g). These statutory safeguards prevent school board members from taking action that has the potential of compromising the school board; surrendering independent judgment to partisan political groups; and providing inaccurate information.

Patel argued that a lesser sanction of reprimand was appropriate for the first-time offense. However, Acting Commissioner Allen-McMillan denied his appeal, finding that he “purposefully referenced his position on the Board to support his political agenda.” The Commissioner found his actions “egregious” and that “a censure is the appropriate penalty for respondent’s failure to include a disclaimer while referencing his position on the Board in a targeted political mailing.”

 

SEE SEC DECISION:  Atif Nazir v. Nitang Patel, Piscataway Township Board of Education, Middlesex County, C43-19, 5/25/2021.

https://www.nj.gov/education/legal/commissioner/2021/164-21SEC.pdf

 

Anti-Muslim memes have no place in our politics | Editorial   

https://www.nj.com/opinion/2019/05/anti-muslim-memes-have-no-place-in-our-politics-editorial.html

 

Over 300 Elected Officials, Organizational Leaders and NJ Residents Condemn Sen. Bob Smith’s and Piscataway Democrats’ Anti-Muslim Flyer and Call for a Public Apology

https://www.insidernj.com/press-release/300-elected-officials-organizational-leaders-nj-residents-condemn-sen-bob-smiths-piscataway-democrats-anti-muslim-flyer-call-public-apology/

 

CAIR’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

 

CJPD is a volunteer, grassroots organization formed after the election of Donald Trump, comprised of candidates and supporters mobilizing for social, racial, economic and political justice. The two organizations are planning a joint event in the fall to celebrate Piscataway’s diversity and explore the impact of this decision for its future.

END 

CAIR-NJ Calls for AG Probe into Brutal Attack on Atlantic City Councilman    

CAIR-NJ Calls for AG Probe into Brutal Attack on Atlantic City Councilman    

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 7/19/2021) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today called the New Jersey Attorney General’s office to investigate the brutal assault on Councilman Hossain Morshed of Atlantic City.

Atlantic City 4th Ward Councilman MD Morshed was attacked last Thursday during a drug deal near Al Hera Mosque. Morshed allegedly came into an altercation with the drug users in the parking lot after the evening prayer.

Morshed, 47, said he was feeling better, but he suffered a broken nose and broken eye socket and his neck is in pain. He was scheduled to have surgery Monday morning to repair the broken bones.

 

SEE: Atlantic City Councilman Morshed To Say He “Was Targeted” 

https://wpgtalkradio.com/atlantic-city-councilman-morshed-to-say-he-was-targeted/

SEE:  From hospital bed, Atlantic City Councilman Morshed details brutal assault  

https://pressofatlanticcity.com/news/local/from-hospital-bed-atlantic-city-councilman-morshed-details-brutal-assault/article_6e69a78a-e81b-11eb-b9ef-1f008ccb1353.html

 

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksutsaid:

“We are deeply concerned by and condemn the brutal attack on Councilman Morshed. For this attack to have taken place next to the mosque that local Muslims frequent for daily worship—including in the early morning and late evening—is especially alarming and should be taken seriously by local officials. An investigation led by the Attorney General’s office is necessary to learn more about the violent assault and those who attacked the councilman.  

“More needs to be done to ensure public safety around Al Hera mosque and Atlantic City, but we know very well that more policing and incarceration will not bring an end to violent crimes or substance misuse. A creative solution that seeks to keep congregants safe but is mindful of the harm brought by over-policing is necessary to ensure the overall wellbeing of the neighborhood.  

“Proactive measures to help those suffering from substance use disorder are necessary to combat the nation-wide pandemic. Atlantic City officials must center the work of community-based prevention programs to help bring an end to the struggle. Non-investment in community based public safety that supports the most vulnerable will lead to a rise in more crimes like the one faced by Councilman Morshed.” 

 

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

END 

CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut, 908-267-3119, smaksut@cair.com

 

Civic Engagement and Coalition Building in the American-Muslim Community: Lessons from the Establishment of Hilf al-Fudul

Mohamed D. Elshekh 

Civic Engagement and Coalition Building in the  American-Muslim Community: Lessons from the  Establishment of Hilf al-Fudul 

The Story of Hilf al-Fudul 

The economic and social formations of pre-Islamic Arabia accentuate a community  that, although thriving monetarily, lacked any moral code from which they could foster a  stable society. Sixth-century Arabia’s political instability stemmed from incessant warfare  between varying clans and empires across the peninsula; abetted by their traditional tribal  

code of ethics, in which every individual from within the tribe was provided with  unrelenting support during an altercation, even if he or she was guilty of an injustice.1 The Arab tribes, particularly the tribe of Quraysh, were accustomed to conventional pre-Islamic  principles that demanded blood money compensations, ritual sacrifices, and intertribal  killings.The betrayal of oaths and the abandonment of religious traditions (such as the  cessation of fighting during the sacred months) were negligible offenses for the majority of  people in that society.2 The successful implementation of their trade-route schemes to  Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Abyssinia, ultimately leading to their unprecedented  economic growth, meant that they were in no need of moral, legal, or political restraints.3 Their honor and pride were found in their geographical location as a cosmopolitan hub for  religious groups throughout Arabia, as well as their strength economically across the  peninsula. It was not until a group of nobles from among the Quraysh traveled to the  neighboring lands of Abyssinia and Syria that they were confronted with a system of justice they saw as superior to the traditional laws of the desert.4 

The Arab tribes before the advent of Islam were engaged in constant intertribal warfare.  The ceaseless fighting and killing in Mecca slowly gave rise to widespread discontent for  the tribal law. The calls for social justice and political reformations were exacerbated, particularly after one incident between a Yemeni merchant and an elite of one of the Arab  tribes in the city of Mecca. The merchant, being a foreigner in Mecca with no immediate  tribal affiliations, took part in a normal exchange of goods with one of the noblemen of the  city. After which the nobleman, recognizing the merchant’s lack of protection in the area,  refused to pay him after being given the goods. This prompted the merchant to call out to  the Arab tribes of Mecca, demanding that they help him seek justice in this matter. The  issue highlights a systemic problem with the social formations of pre-Islamic society – if  

1 Martin Lings, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, (Islamic Texts Society, 1991), 31.  2 Ibid., 31.  

3 Mahmood Ibrahim, Social and Economic Conditions of Pre-Islamic Mecca, (Cambridge University Press, 1982),  347.  

4 Lings, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, 31.

you did not have tribal protection within the city, you were left to fend for yourself. Foreigners and outsiders were offered no defense and could not possibly pit themselves  against an entire clan. 

However, in this situation, the response from the Quraysh was immediate. Unlike like  countless individuals who were previously wronged as a result of the traditional tribal code,  the Quraysh decided that this particular event would serve as a turning point for their  society. Several clans from within the tribe of Quraysh banded together to form a pact in  which they pledged to stand together against any form of oppression in Mecca – even if it  was against a fellow clansman. The clans met in the house of ‘Abd Allah ibn Jud’an, one of  the wealthiest men in the city, and discussed how they could transform their moral, social,  and political systems. They vowed to eradicate any form of injustice within their city in  hopes of reversing the ethical deterioration which had weakened the Qurayshi society for  generations.5 The clans concluded their meeting with a symbolic pre-Islamic ritual at the  Ka’ba. Water was poured over the Black Stone and into a vessel which each individual  drank from to symbolize their newfound unity. Hilf al-Fudul, (the Alliance of the Virtuous) as the pact was known amongst the tribes of sixth-century Mecca, represents one of the  most profound pre-Islamic allegiances in the midst of an ‘Age-of-Empires’ civilization.6 

While it is true that the new pact was transformative for the sixth-century Arab living in  the harsh desert environment, there is one factor which magnifies the importance of this  event for the average Muslim living in the modern world. Muhammad (pbuh) was directly  involved in the formalization of this covenant even before his designation as a Prophet,  and, when recalling the incident, is quoted to have said, “I was present in the house of  ‘Abd Allah ibn Jud’an at so excellent a pact that I would not exchange my part in it for a  herd of red camels; and if now, in Islam, I were summoned unto it, I would gladly  respond.”7 

Lessons for the American-Muslim Community 

What relevance does a medieval pact between Bedouin tribes in the desert have on the  life of an average twenty-first century American-Muslim? How can their moral concerns  regarding justice and political involvement, which grew out of the anarchic law of the  desert, supplement our contemporary standards of righteousness in a modern society? Muhammad’s (pbuh) involvement in the pact provides an epistemological foundation for  the importance of civic engagement and social justice across the Muslim ummah. Remember, this event took place even before Muhammad (pbuh) received any revelation from the Divine. His decision to take part in the moral and political formations of Hilf al Fudul, even before prophethood, indicate that the desire to bring justice to society is not  only a matter outlined in scripture, but an affair codified in the fitra of every person. The  enjoinment of good and forbiddance of evil are principles which exist in the essence of the  

5 Ibid., 31-32.  

6 Ibrahim, Social and Economic Conditions of Pre-Islamic Mecca, 355. 

7 Lings, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, 32.

human spirit and require immediate action by the community.8 Combatting systemic injustices inflicted on different communities, regardless of their tribe, nationality, class,  race, or religion is the cardinal lesson which is to be derived from the story of Hilf al-Fudul

There seems to be considerable overlaps between the pre-Islamic society of Mecca and  the socio-political problems which characterize the United States, today. Sixth century  Arabia, as previously mentioned, was an economic juggernaut due to the highly effective  trade dealings which were instituted by the Qurayshi elders. Unfortunately, the sixth century Arab communities also suffered from a lack of accepted moral principles from  which they could grow together as one united community. This description, many could  argue, is representative of the modern United States. Despite being the most powerful  country in the modern world, the notion of the U.S. being a global force for good has yet  to be completely accepted by communities both foreign and domestic. Hilf al-Fudul was the  ingredient which led to the slow, moral reformation among the pre-Islamic Arabs.  Similarly, it must be the American-Muslim community, with the help of the wider  American population, which initiates the political and moral change desired in the United  States. 

Current polling in the United States indicates that, by and large, the civic engagement of the American-Muslim community has been steadily rising, especially in recent years.9 The  American-Muslim community has gradually internalized the moral teachings of Hilf al Fudul – and this is especially clear when the social leanings of American-Muslims are  considered. Muslims in the United States overwhelmingly support the political  empowerment of minority groups and have increasingly expressed support for various  disenfranchised communities.10 This social and political solidarity is likely a byproduct of  the uptick in Islamophobic cases against American-Muslims since the early-2000s – and  particularly as of late.11 Similar to the common purpose embraced by the signatories of Hilf  al-Fudul, (to abolish societal and political injustices wherever they may arise in Mecca) the  countless minority groups in America have, in like manner, established an informal  amalgamation of communities focused on combatting bigotry. However, standing against  discrimination and inequality should not arise out of political convenience. Like the tribes  of sixth-century Arabia showed, it should emerge out of a human desire to put an end to all  forms of evil regardless of the victim’s identity. Like the Yemeni merchant in the story of  Hilf al-Fudul who suffered as a result of his foreign identity, American-Muslims, among  other minority groups, are mistreated because their identity is viewed as alien. The systemic  inequalities American-Muslims experience in the United States range from FBI surveillance  

8 Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an, (Amana Publications, 2006), 471. – (9:112).  9 “Breaking: Emgage Announces Historic Muslim Voter Turnout in 2018 Midterm Election”,  Emgageusa.org, May 20, 2019, https://www.emgageusa.org/breaking-emgage-announces-historic-muslim voter-turnout-in-2018-midterm-elections/ 

10 “American Muslims’ Political and Social Views”, PewForum.org, Pew Research Center Religion and Public  Life, July 26, 2017, https://www.pewforum.org/2017/07/26/political-and-social-views/ 11 “Katayoun Kishi, “Assaults Against American Muslims in U.S. Surpass 2001 Level” pewresearch.org, Fact  Tank: News in Numbers, November 15, 2017, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact tank/2017/11/15/assaults-against-muslims-in-u-s-surpass-2001-level/

of mosques and Islamic schools12 to the development of Islamophobic legislation in states  across the country.13 Similar forms of systemic oppression are experienced by countless  minority groups in the United States. What Hilf al-Fudul teaches us is that systemic reform,  as the pre-Islamic Arabs of the sixth century showed, can only be achieved through  community cooperation. Thus, American-Muslims should want to engage civically not  because they wish to simply put an end to their own problems, but because they have a  deep commitment to opposing all forms of oppression. 

Strengthening our Institutions and Building Coalitions 

In the United States, mosques and civil rights groups have long been at the heart of  political mobilization and civic engagement for American-Muslims. Especially within  particular ethnic communities, the mosques and civil rights organizations serve as the  center for civic outreach and political project planning.14 This reality is not exclusive to the  Muslim community. For example, studies within the Christian community have shown that increased church involvement has led to more civic engagement among churchgoers.15 The  church’s (and by extension the mosque’s) ability to foster “a group consciousness that  empowers political participation”, should be an indicator of the importance these  institutions have on American public life.16 American-Muslims, as they are still a growing  minority within the United States, must invest in strengthening these institutions if they  wish to transform the civic and political discourse for the better. Prioritizing the  development of local mosques and Muslim civil rights groups is a crucial element in the  discussion of civic engagement in Muslim communities. America-Muslims should then aim  to build coalitions with other institutions that represent disenfranchised communities. In  sixth-century Arabia, it was the conglomeration of clans which facilitated the establishment  of Hilf al-Fudul. Likewise, in twenty-first century America, it must be community  cooperation, coalition building, and political participation that, like Hilf al-Fudul, fight for a  moral, tolerant, and united community. 

The theological justifications for Muslim engagement within the community are  numerous, but one particular hadith accurately grasps the importance of civic engagement,  especially in contemporary America. Muhammad (pbuh), while addressing the public  concerning the significance of social justice said:  

People! You may have had claims against me. If I have whipped anybody’s back, let  him retaliate on this, my back. If I have condemned or censured anybody’s honor, here  

12 Sabrina Alimahomed-Wilson, When the FBI Knocks: Racialized State Surveillance of Muslims, (Critical Sociology,  2019), 871.  

13 Southern Poverty Law Center, Tracking Anti-Muslim Legislation Across the U.S. – Tracking Anti-Muslim  Legislation Across the U.S. | Southern Poverty Law Center (splcenter.org) 

14 Amaney Jamal, The Political Participation and Engagement of Muslim Americans: Mosque Involvement and Group  Consciousness, (American Politics Research, 2005), 537.  

15 Ibid., 522. 

16 Ibid., 522. 

is my honor to take revenge upon. If I have taken anybody’s property, here is my  property, let him take it. In fact, dearest to me is the one who take his claim from me  if he has a right thereto or forgives me.17 

Muhammad, in complete harmony with the lessons promoted in the pact of Hilf al-Fudul, stresses the importance of holding those in power responsible for their actions. The  Prophet even goes as far as to authorize retaliation against himself if someone feels he (pbuh) has transgressed their rights. In the story of Hilf al-Fudul, it was a powerful  nobleman of the city who instigated the injustice which led to the formalization of the  pact. Similarly, in the United States, social and political transformations can only take  shape when the community hold those in power, whether they be individuals or groups, responsible for their actions. That means continuously participating at every level of the  American political system and strengthening the faith-based institutions which advocate  on our behalf. How can the ummah, expect change domestically (or even globally), if their political and social participations are lacking? How can the moral principles of Hilf al Fudul be fulfilled if the very community to whom the pact addresses theologically is absent politically? 

The aim of this paper is to not only unravel the moral transformation of the pre Islamic Arabs, but, in similar fashion, inspire the American-Muslim community to  continue strengthening their presence in the political sphere in hopes of shaping the  social, political, and moral discourse in the United States. Understanding the society of  Mecca before the advent of the Islamic tradition can help demonstrate the necessary steps  American-Muslims in the modern world should take if they wish to transform their own  situation similar to the transformation experienced by the Quraysh. Positive  transformation begins only when, as the Qur’an explains, the community looks within  themselves and takes the first steps toward progress. As Allah teaches in the Qur’an: 

“Verily, never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change what is within  themselves.”18 

17 Afzal Iqbal, The Prophet’s Diplomacy: The Art of Negotiation as Conceived and Developed by the Prophet of Islam, (Claude Stark & Co., 1975), 54.  

18 Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an, 589. – (13:11).

CAIR-NJ Asks FBI to Probe Bomb Threat Targeting Palestinian Community Center, Calls on Officials to Denounce Anti-Palestinian Hate    

CAIR-NJ Asks FBI to Probe Bomb Threat Targeting Palestinian Community Center, Calls on Officials to Denounce Anti-Palestinian Hate    

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 6/1/2021) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today called on the FBI to investigate bomb threats targeting the Palestinian American Community Center (PACC) in Clifton, N.J. CAIR-NJ also called on Clifton police to provide extra security for the PACC in the coming days.

Earlier today, June 1, PACC reportedly received a series of more than 30 phone calls from two callers threatening violence. The callers verbally attacked PACC staff, threatened to bomb the community center and physically and sexually attack staff. Racist, Islamophobic, anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian, and misogynistic language was used against the staff.

The calls began at around 11 a.m. and continued until about 6 p.m.

At times, the caller used a private number, blocking his location and name. At other times, the caller ID indicated he was calling from Texas.

The caller was apparently agitated by recent tensions in Palestine and Israel and referenced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the conversation.

The caller said in part;

Caller: “Are you Palestinian?”

Respondent: “Why does that matter?”

Caller: “So I know to come blow you up.”

 

Caller: “Is this the terrorist community center?”

Caller: “I live next to you.”

Caller: “I’m going to come rape you and give you a taste of your own medicine”

Caller: “I’m going to go over there and beat the shit out of you.”

Caller: “You Palestinians blow up children and behead them.”

Caller: “You don’t even have a country.”

Caller: “They are not going to catch me, so I do not know why you’re worried about calling it in.”

 

Clifton police only responded to the scene after CAIR-NJ called for the matter to be taken seriously. Security was then provided. Clifton police will investigate the incident as a potential hate crime.

CAIR-NJ filed an official complaint with the FBI Tuesday evening.

 

Video: CAIR-NJ Asks FBI to Probe Bomb Threat Targeting Palestinian Community Center

https://youtu.be/JiLK62BwPac

Video 2: CAIR-NJ Asks FBI to Probe Bomb Threat Targeting Palestinian Community Center
https://youtu.be/AvQUgvNcdp0
SEE: At Palestinian community center in Clifton, a ‘shaken’ staff copes with violent threats   

https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/passaic/clifton/2021/06/01/clifton-nj-palestinian-center-targeted-violent-threats/7496804002/  

 

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said:

“Our office has filed a complaint with the FBI and expects a formal investigation to follow immediately. We urge the FBI and state law enforcement authorities to take domestic terrorism threats seriously and to ensure the safety of PACC’s members.    

“Propaganda in support of Israeli apartheid and brutality that demonizes Palestinians provides fertile ground for anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim hatred here in America. This propaganda, adopted by some New Jersey elected officials, gives a false sense of entitlement to those — like the racist caller — who make violent threats against Palestinian community members. This propaganda puts Palestinian and American Muslims at risk. It needs to be condemned and repudiated at every opportunity by elected officials and policymakers.   

“Calling out anti-Palestinian hatred and Islamophobia is not controversial. New Jersey elected officials must be loud and clear in their condemnation of this violence.”  

He noted that CAIR today called on all Americans to urge members of Congress to reject Israel’s new request for a $1 billion in additional, unconditional, “emergency” military aid from U.S. taxpayers following its war crimes in Gaza that murdered 256 Palestinians, including 67 children, and injuring 1,200 more, in violation the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act and Arms Export Control Act.

CAIR Action Alert: Urge Congress to Reject Israel’s Request for $1 Billion in Emergency Military Aid 

https://www.cair.com/press_releases/cair-action-alert-urge-congress-to-reject-israels-request-for-1-billion-in-emergency-military-aid/

Video: CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad Speaks to #March4Palestine in D.C.  

https://youtu.be/BW0Z-JgsBsU

 

In a statement, Abire Sabbagh, PACC Community Engagement Coordinator said:

“Most important for us right now is for people to recognize how layered this incident is. It’s heavily politically charged, and anti-Palestinian, as well as extremely misogynistic. This did not come out of nowhere – this comes from this country’s blind political, financial, and moral support to Israel. What happens abroad affects what happens to our communities here, and right now we’re most concerned about the beautiful and diverse community we serve – especially the most vulnerable within, our women and children. The very least our local and national government can do is acknowledge the physical, emotional, and psychological toll and trauma on our people here and in Palestine.” 

 

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

END 

CAIR-NJ Welcomes School Ethics Commission Penalty on Piscataway BOE Member Over Islamophobic Flyer  

CAIR-NJ Welcomes School Ethics Commission Penalty on Piscataway BOE Member Over Islamophobic Flyer  

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 5/26/2021) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed the New Jersey School Ethics Commission’s decision to censure Piscataway BOE member Nitang Patel.  

In June 2019, a flyer was distributed to predominantly Indian-American households of Hindu faith. The flyer was signed by three prominent Indian-American residents — none of them Muslim — promoting candidates who were running in the primary for County Committee.   

The language used against their opponents from the Central Jersey Progressive Democrats named Dr. Atif Nazir, an outspoken and admired Muslim former school board member, and called the opposing slate “a radical group under the leadership of Atif Nazir that wants to take over our township government. We cannot let that happen.”   

CAIR-NJ and Bromberg Law LLC filed a Complaint under the School Ethics Act against Patel alleging violations of three provisions of the Code of Ethics for school board members.   

The New Jersey School Ethics Commission issued its final decision on May 25, 2021. The Commission recommends a penalty of censure for Patel having violated multiple provisions of the Code (see page 17).    

SEE DECISION: https://www.cair.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/FinalDecision.pdf 

SEE: Anti-Muslim memes have no place in our politics | Editorial   

https://www.nj.com/opinion/2019/05/anti-muslim-memes-have-no-place-in-our-politics-editorial.html 

SEE: Over 300 Elected Officials, Organizational Leaders and NJ Residents Condemn Sen. Bob Smith’s and Piscataway Democrats’ Anti-Muslim Flyer and Call for a Public Apology   

https://www.insidernj.com/press-release/300-elected-officials-organizational-leaders-nj-residents-condemn-sen-bob-smiths-piscataway-democrats-anti-muslim-flyer-call-public-apology/   

   

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Civil Rights Attorney Nina Rossi said:   

“The administrative law judge who issued the initial decision ignored relevant evidence that was presented at the hearing. He found only one violation of the Code of Ethics. The School Ethics Commission, after an independent review of the evidence, found three Code violations: that Patel’s actions had the potential to compromise the Board, that Patel surrendered his independent judgment to a partisan political group and that Patel endorsed a flyer that contained inaccurate information about Atif Nazir.     

“The Ethics Commission also increased the penalty from the Reprimand imposed by the ALJ to a Censure. Its reasoning was that Patel committed multiple violations of the School Ethics Act and there is a need to publicly admonish school officials who fail to act in accordance with the act.”  

  

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said:  

“We welcome the School Ethics Commission’s decision to censure Mr. Patel. Inflammatory rhetoric stoking anti-Muslim sentiment for political gain should never serve as the base of a political campaign. Vilifying Muslims in the political area is unfortunately an all-to-common tactic that should never be tolerated.”     

 

CAIR’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.   

END   

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Recognitions

American Muslims in New Jersey have much to celebrate. For many years the American Muslim community has added to the rich cultural diversity we greatly value in New Jersey. The Council on American-Islamic Relations is an important vehicle for recognizing the accomplishments of New Jersey's Muslims.
Cory Booker
U.S. Senator New Jersey
CAIR is not for that stranger. CAIR is for you. Even as mayor I was stopped and harassed at JFK along with my wife and four children. My phone was confiscated. CAIR was there to stand up for me and retrieve my phone. Supporting CAIR means making sure that they are there for you when you need them in the future.
Mohamed T. Khairullah
Mayor Prospect Park
Since its inception, CAIR's New Jersey Chapter has been committed to advancing its parent organization's mission to provide necessary services to Muslim Americans that have contributed to their personal and professional wellbeing. CAIR-NJ has long been a champion for the interests of its community, striving to protect their civil liberties and offering them numerous educational opportunities.
Chris Christie
Former Governor of New Jersey
As Governor, I commend the leadership and volunteers of CAIR-NJ for their hard work and dedication to advance civil liberties for countless individuals and for their unwavering dedication to endure the wellness of our society.
Phil Murphy
Governor New Jersey
The work of CAIR and its partners ensures that the rights of all Americans remain protected. Now, more than ever, it is our duty to expose and dismantle Islamophobia and to push back against all types of hate.
Bonnie W. Coleman
Member of Congress
I commend your commitment to engage, embrace and value all communities and I am confident that your efforts will bring greater understanding and tryst to our communities. I look forward to continuing to work with you and the Muslim community in mu district in this endeavor.
Frank Pallone Jr.
U.S. Senator New Jersey

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