CAIR-NJ Condemns Alleged Bias-Motivated Attack Targeting Paterson Mosque

CAIR-NJ Condemns Alleged Bias-Motivated Attack Targeting Paterson Mosque

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today condemned an alleged bias-motivated attack targeting congregants at the Islamic Congregation of North Jersey, also known as Masjid Abu Bakr, in Paterson, N.J.

Worshippers were reportedly pelted with rocks while praying on Monday evening, making this the second alleged bias attack in eight months, according to mosque leaders and authorities.

At around 8:25 p.m., three young men came in through the front door while around 100 people were gathered for sunset prayer, said Burhan Uddin, a board member at the mosque. One held the door while the others threw rocks, he said. Two people were struck on the leg, but no one was injured, Uddin added.

The Passaic County Sheriff’s Office responded and has referred the matter to the county Prosecutor’s Office, which investigates bias crimes.

SEE: ‘We lock the door’: Paterson mosque-goers fearful after second bias attack

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

“Houses of worship are intended to be places of spiritual refuge. Disturbing incidents like these rob them and their congregants of the tranquility that they are seeking.

“Unfortunately, we’re seeing a trend of New Jersey mosques installing bullet-proof windows and, as we’re seeing with Masjid Abu Bakr now, locking their doors during prayer. This is not conducive to our growth or development as a community.

“We continue to call on local officials to support community-based organizations as they seek to protect themselves through the hiring of private security.”

He urged mosques and other houses of worship and faith-based and advocacy organizations to take extra security precautions as outlined in its “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety” booklet.

The booklet may be viewed at: https://www.cair.com/mosque-and-community-safety/

Maksut also noted that this incident is not isolated, with CAIR-NJ documenting nearly 100 cases of alleged biases so far this year.

CAIR released a report earlier this year on structural Islamophobia, titled, “Still Suspect: The Impact of Structural Islamophobia,” detailing more than 6,700 civil rights complaints that the group received this year.

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

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

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Senator Booker’s Resolution to Recognize Muslim-American Heritage Month 

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Senator Booker’s Resolution to Recognize Muslim-American Heritage Month

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 8/02/2022) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed Senator Cory Booker’s Senate resolution to recognize July 2022 as Muslim-American Heritage Month.  

The resolution recognizes the importance of American Muslim figures, including El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, Imam Warith Deen Mohamed, Muhammad Ali, Ibtihaj Muhammad. It also notes American Muslims’ contributions to American society as business owners, entrepreneurs, healthcare professionals, humanitarians, scientists, and students. More notably, the resolution also recognizes sustained biases that American Muslims experience and calls for public education, awareness, and policies that are “culturally competent” when discussing the American Muslim community. 

SEE: Resolution Recognizing Muslim American Heritage Month 

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

“Muslim are not new to America — America’s first slaves were Muslim — and, as a community, we have long contributed to American society. We appreciate that this resolution recognizes generations of American Muslims, past and present.   

“We also applaud the resolution’s consideration of biases that American Muslims face. It is important that our legislators do so while also drafting new policy to address this issue head on.  

“New Jersey does have the highest percentage of Muslims in America and it is our hope that Senator Booker will take lead on additional initiatives targeting issues that affect the American Muslim community directly, like protection against surveillance and entrapment, relief for incarcerated Muslims, refuge for Muslims fleeing precarious living conditions in Afghanistan following the hasty U.S. withdrawal, and civil liberty protections for all Americans. 

We look forward to further collaboration between Senator Booker and his Muslim constituents on bills that bring about positive change for the community and our nation.” 

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

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

CAIR-NJ Welcomes New State Law Establishing Licensing Program for All NJ Law Enforcement

CAIR-NJ Welcomes New State Law Establishing Licensing Program for All NJ Law Enforcement

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 07/22/2022) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed a new state law that would require all NJ law enforcement officers to hold a valid, active license issued by the Police Training Commission in order to be employed as officers in the State of New Jersey.  

New Jersey joins 46 other states across the nation in creating a statewide police licensing program.     

Under the new measure, law enforcement officials will be required to pass a psychological examination and take training courses to remain licensed. They would face decertification for various instances of misconduct, including being convicted of a crime in the U.S., having two or more Driving While Intoxicated offenses, and unprofessional conduct causing public harm.  

SEE: Police in N.J. will be required to get a license under new law signed by Murphy     

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

“Nearly 90 police officers were booted from NJ police forces just last year, and several hundred received disciplinary action. It’s clear that police oversight and accountability are much needed, and a licensing program could be a move in the right direction.     

“We have previously called for increased funding to community-based organizations and mental health programs that can be instrumental in preventing crime and violence altogether, as opposed to increasing funding for law enforcement, and that is still our position.    

“This new law does not erase the fact that racism and white supremacy are deeply entrenched in U.S. law enforcement. Instructional information is often riddled with subtle or even overt racism.  

“We call on local and state governments to be proactive in identifying racist officers and racism within law enforcement, including training programs. This is crucial to the protection of Black Americans and communities of color that these police officers serve.”    

SEE: Prevalence of white supremacists in law enforcement demands drastic change  

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

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

 

 

CAIR-NJ Condemns Racist Threats Targeting Black Woman in Md., Welcomes Judge’s Ruling for In-Patient Drug Treatment

CAIR-NJ Condemns Racist Threats Targeting Black Woman in Md., Welcomes Judge’s Ruling for In-Patient Drug Treatment

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 07/20/2022) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today condemned a New Jersey man’s racist epithets and threats targeting a Black woman in Maryland.    

U.S. District Judge Stephanie A. Gallagher sentenced the man, Michael Marotta, 26, of Sewell, NJ, to 30 days of confinement, in-patient drug treatment, and three years of probation.     

SEE: N.J. man sentenced for racist, threatening text sent to Black woman in Maryland   

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

“We are disappointed that someone would send such frightening threats and racist messages. There should be no tolerance for racism of any sort.  

“We are also optimistic about the judge’s decision requiring the perpetrator to check in to an in-patient drug rehabilitation program.” 

Maksut also emphasized the need to center rehabilitation in response to violence, whether actualized or verbal, that can affect long-term change.   

He said CAIR and the American Muslim community stand in solidarity with all those challenging antisemitism, anti-Black racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and white supremacy.

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

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

 

CAIR-NJ Condemns Antisemitic Hate Crime Targeting a Deal Synagogue

CAIR-NJ Condemns Antisemitic Hate Crime Targeting a Deal Synagogue

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 07/19/2022) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned an alleged antisemitic incident targeting aa synagogue in Deal, N.J.  

Nicholas Skirvin, 44, of Denville, allegedly shouted “several terroristic threats that were biased in nature” outside the Orthodox Jewish Ohel Yaacob on Lawrence Avenue, according to Deal police.  

Skirvin was arrested and charged with second-degree bias intimidation, third-degree terroristic threats and harassment. He is currently being held at the Monmouth County Jail pending a detention hearing.    

SEE: Man Charged with Hate Crime After Outbursts at Deal, NJ Synagogue

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

“Everyone — regardless of faith or background — has the right to feel safe in their homes and places of worship, and we condemn this alleged act of antisemitic hate in the strongest terms. 

“We call on local officials to direct funds to community-based organizations that can provide educational resources to the general public and advocate against antisemitism and bigotry in all its forms.”    

He said the American Muslim community and CAIR stand in solidarity with all those challenging anti-Black racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, white supremacy, and all other forms of bigotry.      

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

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

 

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Letter by Sens. Menendez, Booker to President Biden Calling for Accountability for the Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh  

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Letter by Sens. Menendez, Booker to President Biden Calling for Accountability for the Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh  

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 7/13/2022) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed Senators Menendez and Booker’s joint letter to President Biden, in which they urged him to press for accountability for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh during his upcoming visit to the Occupied West Bank.

The senators also called for continued U.S. participation in transparent and timely investigations into any remaining or new evidence and asked for a “senior-level classified briefing on the investigation details, including American involvement… and next steps with the IDF and PA regarding accountability for Ms. Abu Akleh’s death.”

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

“While we are disappointed that our senators were slow to act — their letter comes more than two months after Abu Akleh’s killing — we acknowledge the value of it especially as we come closer to President Biden’s trip to the occupied territories.   

“We commend them for pressing President Biden at such a critical moment and hope to receive answers in the coming days regarding next steps toward accountability. We also hope that the senators will press for the protection of Palestinian human rights and their right to a dignified life.”  

CAIR-NJ had previously written to the Senators Menendez and Booker asking for the reasoning behind their absence in Senator Van Hollen’s letter to President Biden. Senator Van Hollen’s letter, which called for a thorough and transparent investigation into Abu Akleh’s killing, was written several weeks ago and signed by more than 20 other senators.

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

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

CAIR-NJ Condemns Anti-Semitic Rampage, Expresses Solidarity with Jewish Community

CAIR-NJ Condemns Anti-Semitic Rampage, Expresses Solidarity with Jewish Community

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 07/05/2022) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today condemned a New Jersey man’s spree of anti-Semitic hate crimes, welcomed the federal charges against him and expressed solidarity with the Jewish community.

According to the prosecutor’s office, 27-year-old Dion Marsh committed a series of crimes over an eight-hour period on April 8. He assaulted a Jewish male driver in Lakewood and then, a few hours later, struck three Orthodox Jewish people with his vehicle. Later that night, he stabbed an Orthodox Jewish man. Marsh also attempted to grab a minor and pull him into the vehicle he was driving, according to police. The four victims are recovering from their injuries.

Marsh was arrested at his residence without incident on April 8. He was found lying in bed with a machete on his chest. His indictment includes carjacking, bias intimidation, attempted murder, attempted kidnapping, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and unlawful possession of a weapon.

SEE: NJ Man Indicted on 32 Counts in hate-Crime Terror Rampage in Lakewood, Jackson

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

“We are deeply disturbed by Dion Marsh’s hate crimes, and we are concerned for the safety of local Jewish communities. We condemn this anti-Semitic violence and stand in full solidarity with our Jewish sisters and brothers. We must continue to protect and defend each other from the forms of bigotry that threaten all of our communities.

“This specific incident also highlights two things: The rising tide of racially motivated violence raging through America, and the need for accessible mental health resources that can be instrumental in preventing incidents like these.”

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

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

CAIR, CAIR-NJ Praise Ben & Jerry’s for Standing by Boycott of Illegal Israeli Settlements, Call Unilever’s Sale a ‘Failure’ for Anti-Palestinian Groups 

CAIR, CAIR-NJ Praise Ben & Jerry’s for Standing by Boycott of Illegal Israeli Settlements, Calls Unilever’s Sale a ‘Failure’ for Anti-Palestinian Groups

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 06/30/2022) – The national headquarters and New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations today praised Ben & Jerry’s for its steadfast refusal to sell products in illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine and condemned Unilever’s “cowardly” decision to sell its business interest so that a local Israeli company can resume the sales under different names.

Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s New Jersey-based parent company, announced the sale of its business interest to its Israeli company owned by Avi Zinger, who had also sued the Unilever over Ben & Jerry’s decision, according to Unilever’s statement. Ben & Jerry’s has not changed its stance and says it will not profit from the sales.

SEE: Unilever Sells Ben & Jerry’s Israeli Business to Defuse Row

SEE: After backlash, NJ-based Unilever says it’s ending Ben & Jerry’s ice cream ban 

Ben & Jerry’s wrote, “We are aware of the Unilever announcement. While our parent company has taken this decision, we do not agree with it. Unilever’s arrangement means Ben & Jerry’s in Israel will be owned and operated by AQP. Our company will no longer profit from Ben & Jerry’s in Israel. We continue to believe it is inconsistent with Ben & Jerry’s values for our ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

Last year, New Jersey’s Division of Investment pulled $182 million in pension funds out of Unilever, citing a state law that prohibited the investment of state pension funds in businesses that engaged in boycotts of Israel. Six other states, including Florida and New York, did the same.

In a statement, CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell said:

“We commend Ben & Jerry’s for standing by their decision to boycott illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, and we condemn Unilever for its cowardly attempt to avoid taking a stance against Israeli apartheid.   

“Unilever’s decision to sell off its business interests in the face of Ben & Jerry’s steadfast refusal to buckle under pressure represents the latest failure of anti-Palestinian groups to bully a principled corporation into submission. Support for Palestinian human rights is spreading around the world, whether they like it or not.”  

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

“We applaud Ben & Jerry’s principled position. At the same time, we are disappointed but also unsurprised by Unilever’s decision. 

“This is what happens when bad faith actors conflate criticisms of Israeli apartheid policies – like illegal sentiments, racist laws and segregated housing – with antisemitism. It’s the aftermath we warned of when we opposed the 2016 anti-boycott law. Boycotts have long been a significant facet of civil rights movements, including in the U.S., and they should be honored.   

“Our office continues to stand firmly against Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and its violation of international human rights laws, and we call on Governor Murphy to repeal the anti-boycott law that, right now, stands in violation of New Jerseyans’ right to free speech.”  

CAIR, the American Civil Liberties Union, and other civil rights organizations have filed free speech lawsuits against anti-BDS laws in Georgia, Arkansas, Arizona, Maryland, and Texas, where CAIR won a landmark legal victory in 2019.

SEE: CAIR’s Challenge to Texas Anti-BDS Law Supported by Amicus Briefs Filed by Coalition of Civic Groups, Scholars 

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

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

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Advocacy Groups’ Petition Against Increase of Police Presence in Schools

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Advocacy Groups’ Petition Against Increase of Police Presence in Schools

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 6/29/2022) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed a petition to the New Jersey Board of Education by civil rights organizations opposing an increase in police presence in schools following the Uvalde school shooting in Texas that left 19 children and two adults dead.

The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, the ACLU of New Jersey and the NAACP of New Jersey, among other advocacy groups, signed a petition pushing back against Governor Phil Murphy’s decision to increase police presence in schools.

In their petition, groups called for evidence-based approaches to school safety that involve non-punitive, relationship-centered practices that avoid and address harm, respond to violations of legal and human rights, and collaboratively solve problems.

Among their demands are the hiring of trained staff such as school psychologists, counselors, and social workers, implementing restorative justice techniques that would allow for open dialogue between students and foster community-building exercises, and introducing social emotional learning, which could reduce exclusionary discipline by decreasing student behavioral issues and conduct problems.

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

“We are deeply saddened at the senseless and tragic school shooting in Uvalde and the overall rise in school shootings, but we are also troubled by the increase of law enforcement presence in schools.      

“Investing more in police presence at schools is not only futile, but also harmful, particularly to immigrant communities and Black and brown students. It risks an increase in school-based arrests for minor offenses and can push non-compliant students out of school and into prison. More importantly, it also takes away from funding from needed services, like mental health counseling and assistance to students.   

“Instead of allocating more funding to law enforcement and security officers, we would like to see those funds put toward hiring mental health professionals, counselors, and social workers who can address students’ needs, foster a culture of safety in schools, and take on a proactive rather than reactive approach to student misconduct. 

“We must work toward eliminating police-in-school programs, and only use police officers in school settings to address violent incidents and external threats. Their use should not be without heavy restrictions on their duties in schools, entirely avoiding internal disciplinary matters. 

“We also welcome initiatives like A660, which would establish mental health assistance programs that can help identify and address students’ mental health struggles and the impact on their academic performance.”  

SEE: CAIR Task Force on Anti-Black Racism: Ending Racist Police Violence in America 

https://www.cair.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Update_Task-Force-Policy-Recomendations.pdf

New Jersey has the highest disparity in the nation in the incarceration rates of Black and white youth, with nearly 18 Black youth incarcerated for every one white youth, even though Black and white youth commit most offenses at similar rates, according to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Sentencing Project. In 2015-16, the ACLU found that, nationwide, Black students were three times more likely to be arrested in school compared to white students.

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

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

CAIR-NJ to Join New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice Rally in Trenton

MEDIA ADVISORY    

CAIR-NJ to Join New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice Rally in Trenton

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 6/21/2022) – On Wednesday, June 22, the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) will join a coalition of pro-immigration groups at a rally on the steps of the State House Annex in Trenton, N.J., to urge lawmakers to use surplus funds to invest in communities most impacted by economic and social consequences of the pandemic.

Coalition groups will also draw attention to the contrast between the size of New Jersey’s immigrant communities and their relatively small share of budget and policy priorities.

June is immigrant heritage month and the time of year when the state budget negotiations reach their conclusion. Coalition members and community speakers will cover topics from economy, pandemic relief, police reform and accountability, and protections against ICE.

WHAT: Rally to urge Trenton to use surplus to invest in communities most impacted by economic and social consequences of the pandemic

WHEN: June 22, at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHERE: State House Annex at 131-137 W State St, Trenton, NJ 08608

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

SEE: NJAIJ Immigrant Heritage Rally

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UOHX7cJRGfboLNr9nLAmaW8vJne4TVPROR-JujYZ4Ik/edit

 

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

“Although Muslims are not new to America — the first Muslims were brought to America as enslaved people — we, along with many other communities of color, continue to be misrepresented and underrepresented.  

“American Muslim communities fall at the intersection of Black America, immigrant America, and working-class America, yet census data consistently undercounts and misrepresents our diversity.  

“We are disappointed in the data aggregation surrounding our communities, which ultimately leads to a disproportionate share of state budget and policy priority being taken away, but we are hopeful in our power and numbers.  

 “We are proud to witness the impact of our sisters and brothers, and we will continue to fight for better representation, whether that’s in the many pockets of public life or census data.” 

 

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

 

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