CAIR-NJ, NJ Mosque to Respond to Anti-Muslim Intimidation Targeting Islamic Center, Call on Police and Local Officials to Probe Bias Motive      

MEDIA ADVISORY  

CAIR-NJ, NJ Mosque to Respond to Anti-Muslim Intimidation Targeting Islamic Center, Call on Police and Local Officials to Probe Bias Motive          

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 11/29/2022) – On Wednesday, Nov. 30, the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) and members of the Muslim Center of Middlesex County (MCMC) will hold a joint press conference in Piscataway, N.J., in response to an incident of ethnic and religious harassment and perceived bias-motivated intimidation that reportedly targeted the center on Saturday, Nov. 26.      

WHEN: Wednesday, November 30 at 2 p.m.

WHERE: Muslim Center of Middlesex County (MCMC), 1000 Hoes Ln, Piscataway, NJ 08854   

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

More than 200 community members were gathered for an event at MCMC — both within the building and in the parking lot — when a truck displaying a digital billboard with photos from the 2008 Mumbai attacks circled through the masjid’s parking lot multiple times.      

The truck entered MCMC’s parking lot from the property’s back entrance at approximately 1:30 p.m., according to security footage. The truck circled the mosque parking lot twice, making stops throughout.      

Some community members were lingering in the parking lot at the time of the incident. One individual followed the truck out of the MCMC parking lot onto Route 18 North and recorded the truck as it drove off.

A police report has been filed.        

SEE: MCMC Security Footage of Bias Intimidation Incident   

SEE ALSO: Cellphone Video      

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

“The intent behind this incident is clear. By targeting a Muslim center and deliberately circling its premises repeatedly, the perpetrators expect New Jersey’s Muslim community to answer to, or even feel shame for, an event that occurred entirely independent of them.   

“Anti-Muslim intimidation tactics like these are unacceptable. They mirror the tactics used against American Muslims in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks and could lead to an uptick in anti-Muslim incidents as we’ve seen over the past two decades.    

“While everyone — even bigots — has the right to free speech, no one has the right to target religious minorities especially at their houses of worship with acts of perceived intimidation and harassment.  

“We call on local law enforcement and the FBI to investigate this incident and hold those responsible accountable. We also call on local officials to condemn this dangerous incident and the vile hatred that accompanied it in the strongest terms.”   

In a statement, the Director of the Islamic Circle of North America’s Council for Social Justice Dr. Atif Nazir said:      

“Places of worship must be respected and treated as safe sanctuaries.    

“Provocative acts of intimidation that are meant to stoke fear cannot be tolerated, and we are calling on law enforcement officials to conduct a full investigation into this hateful incident.”     

In August, CAIR-NJ called on local leaders to rebuke the offensive use of a bulldozer – which in India symbolizes societal division and anti-Muslim sentiment – at the India Independence Day parade in Edison and Woodbridge, N.J.  

Earlier this year, CAIR released a report, titled “Still Suspect: The Impact of Structural Islamophobia,” documenting more than 6,720 complaints to CAIR offices nationwide involving a range of issues including immigration and travel, workplace discrimination, denial of public accommodations, law enforcement and government overreach, hate and bias incidents, incarceree rights, school incidents, anti-BDS/free speech, among other reported issues.          

 

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, Coalition Partners Rally in Trenton in Support of Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights

CAIR-NJ, Coalition Partners Rally in Trenton in Support of Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights  

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 11/23/2022) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) joined coalition partners, including Make the Road New Jersey, at the Capitol Building in Trenton on Monday, November 21st to call on state legislators to pass the Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights (A1474/S511).   

The Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights provides certain protections and rights for temporary laborers and could play a crucial role in redressing racial and gender wage and employment discrimination. The bill of rights would also mandate equal pay for equal work and basic disclosures around rate of pay and hours.  

SEE: Assembly: Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights  

SEE: Senate: Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights  

Black and Latino workers make up an overwhelming majority of most temporary staffing work, according to the National Employment Law Project. While Black workers represent 12.1 percent of the overall workforce, they make up 25.9 percent of temporary workers. Similarly, while Latino workers make up16.6 percent of all workers, they represent 25.4 percent of temporary workers. Due to a lack of sufficient labor protections, temporary workers are subject to precarious employment status, low pay, lack of benefits, wage theft, and even health and safety risks.  

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Government Affairs Manager Madina P. Ouedraogo, MPA-PNP said:    

“The Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights is critical legislation that will help ensure that New Jersey’s thousands of essential workers are guaranteed stronger protections within their workplaces. 

“From retail spaces to service industries, essential workers play an integral role in our daily lives. To call them essential without providing them the protections they need and deserve is inconsistent, and we join coalition groups in the exigent call for essential workers’ labor protection.”    

 

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 Welcomes FBI Probe of Israel’s Murder of American Journalist and New Jersey Resident Shireen Abu Akleh

CAIR-NJ Welcomes FBI Probe of Israel’s Murder of American Journalist and New Jersey Resident Shireen Abu Akleh

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 11/16/22) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed reports that the FBI will investigate the Israeli military’s murder of American journalist and New Jersey resident Shireen Abu Akleh.    

Media reports indicate that the DOJ informed the Israeli Justice Ministry that the FBI has opened an investigation into the killing of Abu Akleh.    

SOURCE: FBI Opened Investigation Into Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh    

At the time of Abu Akleh’s killing, CAIR-NJ had written to Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker in June inquiring about their position on Abu Akleh’s killing, given that their signatures were absent from Senator Van Hollen’s letter to President Biden that had called for accountability. The New Jersey senators later wrote a joint letter to President Biden urging him to press for accountability for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh during his visit to the Occupied West Bank at the time.    

SEE: CAIR-NJ Letter to Sens. Menendez and Booker on Shireen Abu Akleh Killing  

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

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

“As a self-proclaimed proponent of democracy and human rights, it only makes sense that U.S. intelligence launches an investigation into the Israeli military’s murder of New Jersey resident Shireen Abu Akleh, late as it may be.   

“Journalists’ work, like Abu Akleh’s, plays a critical role in dignifying local communities. When the Israeli military wields fatal attacks on journalists, this becomes an added threat to Palestinian dignity and human life.”    

In a statement, CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw said:    

“We welcome this long-delayed investigation and hope our nation will finally hold Israel accountable for its violence targeting American citizens, journalists and other civilians in the territories it occupies illegally. Violence is the inevitable result of Israel’s apartheid policies, human rights abuses and continuing occupation of Palestinian land.”    

McCaw added CAIR thanks the many members of Congress who continued to pressed the Biden administration and FBI to investigate Akleh’s murder, including Representative Andre Carson (D-IN) who announced the Justice For Shireen Act.   

SEE: Rep. Carson Announces Justice For Shireen Act   

SEE: CAIR Welcomes FBI Probe of Israel’s Murder of American Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh 

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 

CAIR-NJ, Paterson Mosque Respond to Hate Crimes, to Hold Community Lunch and Forum Promoting Safety and Mutual Understanding

CAIR-NJ, Paterson Mosque Respond to Hate Crimes, to Hold Community Lunch and Forum Promoting Safety and Mutual Understanding

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ 11/04/2022 ) – On Saturday, November 5, the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) and partner organizations will hold a community lunch and forum to promote safety and mutual understanding. This event comes in response to three separate attacks on Masjid Abu Bakr (Muslim Congregation of New Jersey) in Paterson, NJ.

In December of last year, the muezzin of the Muslim Congregation of New Jersey was physically attacked as he gave the call to prayer, and in August, worshippers were pelted with rocks as they prayed. Previously, the masjid faced verbal harassment and individual community members continue to face this, with the most recent incident occurring two weeks ago. 

SEE: CAIR-NJ Condemns Bias Attack at Paterson Mosque, Welcomes Prosecutor’s Charges

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

 

WHEN: Saturday, November 5, 2022 at 12:30pm

WHERE: 300-306 Preakness Ave. Paterson, NJ 07502

(Free and open to the public)

SEE: Community Forum and Lunch at Masjid Abu Bakr

 

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

“An attack on a masjid is a red line for us all.  

“We invite community members — Muslim and non-Muslim — and elected officials to learn about Islam directly from Muslims, with the objective being to address and reduce anti-Muslim biases and incidents like the ones we’ve seen targeting this specific masjid.

“Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world, and New Jersey has the largest percentage of Muslims in the U.S. It’s disappointing to see anti-Muslim incidents continuing on an upward tick, but through direct advocacy and community engagement, like this forum, we hope to see less and less incidents and eventually none at all.”  
 
 

Participating Organizations:  

Islamic Center of Passaic County  

Masjid Adam  

Masjid Salahuddin  

The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights  

American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey   

Black Lives Matter Paterson  

Bangladeshi American Women’s Development Initiative  

Women and Families Ascending Association  

Attending Guests:  

Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ 9th District)   

Elder Jerome Bishop Lane Jr., Presbytery of Northeast New Jersey  

Imam Abdul Quddoos Farra’d, Masjid Salahuddin  

Imam Mohammad Qatanani, Islamic Center of Passaic County  

Imam Mohammed S. Uddin, Islamic Congregation of North Jersey  

Joe Johnson, Policy Counsel, ACLU-NJ   

Mayor of Paterson André Sayegh  

Passaic County Commissioner Pat Lepore  

Passaic County Commissioner Terry Duffy  

Passaic County Sherriff Richard Berdnik  

Paterson City Councilman Alaa “Al” Abdelaziz – 6th Ward  

Paterson City Council Vice President Alex Mendez – 3rd Ward  

Paterson City Councilwoman – At-Large Maritza Davila   

Paterson City Councilman – At-Large  MD Forid Uddin  

Paterson City Council President Shahin Khalique – 2nd Ward  

Prospect Park City Council Member Alaa Matari  

Prospect Park Elementary School Board Member Mr. Niaz Nadim  

Prospect Park Mayor Mohamed T. Khairullah  

Radwa Elzokm, Constituent Advocate, Office of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ)  

Tisha Leonardo-Santiago,MS, The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights

 

END     

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

CAIR-NJ Joins the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice in Trenton for National Immigrants Day Calling for Stronger Protections for Immigrants

CAIR-NJ Joins the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice in Trenton for National Immigrants Day Calling for Stronger Protections for Immigrants

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 11/1/2022) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) joined the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ), advocates and activists in Trenton to call for stronger, more expansive protections for the states immigrant community, including urging legislators to support and pass the Values Act (A1986/S512), Language Access Bill (A3837/S2459), and Data Disaggregation Bill (S241).

The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ) hosted their Trenton Day of Action on Thursday, October 27, 2022 at the state capital in commemoration of National Immigrants Day, which celebrates immigrants and their contributions to society. NJAIJ’s Day of Action also included point of privilege recognition from Assembly Member Shama A. Haider (LD-37) commemorating National Immigrants Day and over 30 meetings with legislators.

Community members, allies and various grassroots, advocacy, and organizing groups such as the ACLU of New Jersey, the New Jersey Policy Perspective, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, Make the Road New Jersey, American Friends Services Committee, 32BJ SEIU, Unidad Latino en Accion, New Labor, Consortium for Immigrant Children, Wind of the Spirit, New and Labor joined the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice in amplifying and garnering support for passage of the Values Act (S512 / A1986), the New Jersey’s Language Access Bill (S2459 / A3837), and the Data Disaggregation Bill  (S2415).

Roughly one in four New Jerseyans identifies as an immigrant, and New Jersey has the second-highest proportion of immigrants in the nation. The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ) core priority bills foster stronger protections for marginalized immigrant and BIPOC communities that constitute a growing population of the state.

SEE: Immigrants Gather in Trenton For National Immigrants Day 

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Government Affairs Manager Madina P. Ouedraogo, MPA-PNP said:

“American Muslims represent the most ethnic diversity within religious groups in America. As such, CAIR-NJ supports language access legislation, which is critical to bridging the gaps between marginalized and non-English speaking communities and public resources. 

“If language access legislation (S2459 / A3837) passes, the state would be required to provide translation and interpretation services in the 15 most common non-English languages per U.S. Census data.”

 

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, smaksur@cair.com

CAIR-NJ Welcomes the City of Paterson’s Allocation of $600,000 to Paterson Municipal Court to Establish a Community Court Program

CAIR-NJ Welcomes the City of Paterson’s Allocation of $600,000 to Paterson Municipal Court to Establish a Community Court Program

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 11/01/2022) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed the City of Paterson’s allocation of $600,000 to establish a community court program within the Paterson Municipal Court. 

The program would implement rehabilitative initiatives for residents and offenders who have been charged with low-level, non-violent crimes. 

Through the program, participants may be eligible for non-punitive divisionary measures such as mental health services, health care, education employment placement, job training, substance abuse treatment, community services, and financial and housing assistance.  

The city of Paterson also seeks to launch a hybrid approach to connecting defendants to direct services and support in addition to granting referrals to contracting community-based organizations and treatments providers.      

SEE: Press Release        

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Government Affairs Manager Madina P. Ouedraogo, MPA-PNP said:          

“CAIR-NJ commends the city of Paterson for implementing harm reduction and non-punitive response measures within its municipal court system. We commend the city of Paterson for taking steps to address injustices and inequities within New Jersey’s criminal justice system and hope other New Jersey cities follow its model.”  

  

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, smaksur@cair.com