CAIR-NJ Acknowledges IBA Apology for Bulldozer at India Day Parade

CAIR-NJ Acknowledges IBA Apology for Bulldozer at India Day Parade 

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 8/31/2022) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today acknowledged the apology issued by the Indian Business Association (IBA), organizers of the parade, for using divisive symbols at their annual India Independence Day parade.

Earlier this month, the IBA organized an India Independence Day parade in Edison and Woodbridge. The parade featured a bulldozer, which has become a symbol of anti-Muslim animus in the context of India. Today, the group issued an apology.

The apology states, in part:

“We are writing to offer our sincere apologies for certain aspects of our 2022 Indian Independence Day parade that reflected poorly on our organization and offended the Indian American minority groups, especially Muslims, from the local area and across the State and Country.”

“Unfortunately there was a bulldozer among the floats in the parade which is a divisive image that did not reflect our mission…Our parade should never be about politics and should never include these blatant divisive symbols.

“We hereby make the commitment that we will not allow these symbols in the future and that we will work with all different groups of South Asian heritage to make sure that our parade remains the best in the State of New Jersey.” 

Video: CAIR-NJ Rep Says Edison India Parade Bulldozer was ‘Clear Message of Intimidation’

SEE: IBA Apology

 

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

“We recognize IBA’S apology acknowledges its own wrongdoing, which is a necessary step toward making future parades representative of the Indian diaspora, including Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, and Tribals.   

“We agree that future parades cannot include blatantly divisive symbols and guest speakers and should never be about politics. Such hatred cannot be tolerated. Instead, the parade should celebrate India’s independence and rich culture and diversity.   

“We applaud Mayor McCormac for taking our community’s concerns seriously and for calling on the IBA to issue this public apology. The bulldozer is a symbol of intimidation and support for the oppression of minorities in India. Such hateful symbols have no place on our streets.   

“Mayor McCormac expressed desire to establish an advisory committee with the objective to ensure that the IBA’s stated commitment is maintained. This effort meets the need for accountability, going beyond acknowledgment.” 

 

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, IAMC Welcome Legislators’ Condemnation of Bulldozer at India Day Parade 

CAIR-NJ, IAMC Welcome Legislators’ Condemnation of Bulldozer at India Day Parade  

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Indian American Muslim Council today welcomed Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblywoman Shama Haider, Assemblywoman Sadaf Jaffer, and Assemblywoman Ellen Park’s joint statement condemning the use of a bulldozer at the India Independence Day parade in Edison, NJ.  

“The bulldozer – which has unfortunately become a symbol of division and hate based on reports of celebrations of Muslim homes being demolished – has cast a shadow over the parade and distressed New Jersey’s vibrant Indian Muslim community and others,” their statement read.  

 In a statement, IAMC President Mohammed Jawad said:  

“The unequivocal rejection of the bulldozer parade from these Assembly people comes as a relief.   

“The tone-deaf decision of the Indian Business Association and the Overseas Friends of the BJP to bring a bulldozer to what was meant to be a celebration of pride has unfortunately injected India’s partisan and supremacist politics into our peace-loving communities in Edison.   

“The presence of an Indian hate-mongering politician Sambit Patra at the parade means the use of the bulldozer was not accidental or an oversight but was wholly intentional. As a hate event, it has traumatized the Indian Muslim community in Edison.” 

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

“We appreciate the elected officials’ joint condemnation of this deliberately hateful incident.  

“In the future, we are hopeful that such condemnations will come without hesitancy and in the immediate aftermath of such incidents.   

“This goes beyond a parade. Indian Muslims in Edison and Woodbridge have reported tensions and expressed fear of harassment and discrimination, and many are concerned about future implications. We must stand up to Hindu nationalism and hatred of all sorts without delay.”  

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 Edison Council Member’s, Woodbridge NAACP, BLM Denunciations of Islamophobic India Parade Bulldozer

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Edison Council Member’s, Woodbridge NAACP, BLM Denunciations of Islamophobic India Parade Bulldozer

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) yesterday joined the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) and other partner organizations in a press conference at the Edison Municipal Building calling for New Jersey elected officials to rebuke the offensive use of a bulldozer at the India Independence Day parade in Edison and Woodbridge, N.J.

CAIR-NJ also called on local leadership to rebuke the primary organizer of the parade, the Indian Business Association (IBA) seek apologies from them.

SEE PRESS CONFEENCE: CAIR-NJ Press Conference

SEE ALSO: Bulldozer used in Edison’s India Independence Day Parade seen as Islamophobic 

In a statement, Perth Amboy Area Branch NAACP President Rev. Donna Stewart said:

“The Perth Amboy Area Branch NAACP firmly stands with CAIR-NJ, the Indian American Muslim Council, Hindus for Human Rights, and all other organizations that have denounced this act of hatred against our Muslim community members. We call on Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac to join us in condemning Islamophobia, and to commit to begin working with the NAACP towards antiracism policy in Woodbridge Township.”

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

“We welcome the strong condemnations offered by Councilmembers Harris, Ship-Freeman, and many others yesterday evening during the town council meeting. Ajay Patil’s dismissal of the issue is of great concern. It should not be difficult to condemn the parading of symbols of violence and hatred in your own town.   

“We are further disappointed in mayor Joshi, mayor McCormac, and local officials who have yet to unequivocal condemn the use of the bulldozer–a symbol of violence and anti-Muslim animus. We continue our call on the IBA for an apology.”  

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 and IAMC Condemn Symbols of Hate at India Independence Day Parade in Edison

CAIR-NJ and IAMC Condemn Symbols of Hate at India Independence Day Parade in Edison

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today joined Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) in condemning the use of a bulldozer at the India Independence Day parade this year.   

The bulldozer, which has become a symbol of Muslim home demolitions in India, was decorated with the images of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Provincial Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, both of whom espouse Islamophobic Hindu nationalist ideologies and serve as active leaders of India’s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).   

SEE: Thousands protest ‘bulldozer justice’ against Indian Muslims  

SEE: Bulldozers Have Razed My Home, and Broken the Back of India’s Muslims. Does the World Care? 

In June, CAIR’s national office called on the international community to act against the bulldozer demolition of Muslim homes by the Indian government.  

In a statement, Indian American Muslim Council President Mohammed Jawad said:   

“We need to contextualize what it means to march with bulldozers emblazoned with the images of two openly Hindu supremacist leaders.   

“Today in India, 200 million Muslims are at risk of mass violence from a radicalized majority population. Marching with these bulldozers shows support for forced homelessness and mass violence against a vulnerable minority.”  

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said: “While we support Indian Americans’ right to celebrate their heritage and independence from British colonial rule, we condemn the use of a bulldozer and the glorification of Hindu nationalist figures who have a deeply anti-Muslim track record.

“We also call on the mayors of Edison and Woodbridge townships, Sam Joshi and John E. McCormac respectively, and New Jersey Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin to condemn these acts of hatred and block Hindu nationalists’ and the BJP’s attempts to interfere in local New Jersey politics.”  

BACKGROUNDER: 

Rights groups have warned of rising anti-Muslim violence in India at the hands of Hindu nationalists, who are enabled by BJP leaders.  

World Report 2021: India | Human Rights Watch 

In what many say is a retaliatory response to Muslims protesting top BJP members’ anti-Muslim remarks, the last few weeks have seen an upward tick in the demolition of Muslims’ homes in India. Amnesty International dubbed the practice as “bulldozer justice” and has condemned it as openly discriminatory and a violation of international human rights laws.  

Amnesty International India: Authorities must stop apparent unlawful demolitions of largely Muslim-owned property 

 MaverickTube Entertainment, a YouTube channel with more than 20,000 subscribers, also posted a video allegedly taken at this year’s India Independence Day parade in New Jersey that featured one of the most visible national spokespersons for the BJP, Sambit Patra. Patra has been accused of championing anti-Muslim rhetoric through his platform as a BJP spokesperson. 

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 Maksut908-267-3119smaksut@cair.com  

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.