CAIR-NJ, AMP-NJ, PACC to Address NJ Elected Officials’ Responses to Calls for a Ceasefire in Gaza and West Bank

MEDIA ADVISORY

CAIR-NJ, AMP-NJ, PACC to Address NJ Elected Officials’ Responses to Calls for a Ceasefire in Gaza and West Bank

(NEWARK, NJ, 11/20/2023) – On Tuesday, Nov. 21, the Council on American-Islamic Relations of New Jersey (CAIR-NJ) will hold a joint press conference with the American Muslims for Palestine’s New Jersey chapter and the Palestinian American Community Center to address New Jersey elected officials’ responses to calls for a ceasefire in Gaza and the West Bank.

WHERE: CAIR-NJ Office, 570 Broad Street, Suite 703, Newark, NJ 07102

WHEN: Tuesday, November 21, 11 a.m.

LIVESTREAM: CAIR-NJ Facebook

CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Communications Manager Dina Sayedahmed, 908-668-5900 ext. 103, dsayedahmed@cair.com; American Muslims for Palestine-NJ Chairperson Wassim Kanaan, 973-856-0180, wkanaan@ampalestine.org; Palestine Education Director Basma Bsharat, 973-253-6145, bbsharat@paccusa.org

The three groups have met with several New Jersey congressmembers since October 7, calling on them to support a ceasefire in Gaza and to address the root causes of violence and aggression in Palestine. The groups will highlight each official’s response to their calls at Tuesday’s press conference.

The Israeli government has killed more than 13,000 Palestinians since its raid of Gaza on October 7. The Israeli government has also doubled its number of Palestinian captives and prisoners.

SEE: Palestinian Death Toll in Gaza Tops 13,000 as Israel Repeatedly Strikes U.N. Schools Housing Refugees

SEE: Israel doubles number of Palestinian prisoners to 10,000 in two weeks

In New Jersey, American Muslims and Palestinian Americans are experiencing unprecedented levels of bigotry. Many have faced retaliation in their workplaces and academic settings for speaking up in support of Palestine.

SEE: Anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim attacks on rise in NJ amid Israel-Gaza conflict, advocates say

SEE: New Jersey residents express overwhelming grief after learning Palestinian relatives were killed in Gaza

The three groups have consistently called on New Jersey elected officials to take action and condemn the root cause of violence in Gaza, which is Israel’s ongoing siege and blockade of the strip.

SEE: CAIR-NJ Calls on NJ Elected Officials to Meet with Palestinian Human Rights Advocates, Stands in Solidarity with Gaza

SEE: Open Letter to New Jersey Elected Officials Address Root Cause of Violence: Israel’s Occupation of Palestine

Together, CAIR-NJ, AMP-NJ, and PACC continue to stand in unwavering solidarity with Palestinians and their right to freedom.

 

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CAIR-NJ to Attend Highland Park Police Sergeant’s Termination Hearing, Sergeant Alleges Ethnic and Religious Discrimination

MEDIA ADVISORY

CAIR-NJ to Attend Highland Park Police Sergeant’s Termination Hearing, Sergeant Alleges Ethnic and Religious Discrimination

(NEWARK, NJ, 11/15/2023) — On Thursday, November 16 at 10 a.m.,  the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ), a chapter of the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, will attend the termination hearing of Highland Park’s Sergeant Mohab Hannout.

SEE: Highland Park officer suspended without pay, claims discrimination

The sergeant, who is allegedly facing ethnic and religious harassment and discrimination within the police department according to court documents, was suspended without pay more than one year ago.

The Highland Park Police Department has fostered a “culture of explicit and implicit bias against Black and brown officers by creating a two-tiered disciplinary system: one for whites and one for ‘others,’” court documents read.

WHEN: Thursday, November 16, 2023, at 10 a.m.    

WHERE: Highland Park Municipal Building, 221 S. 5th Ave, Highland Park, NJ 08904 

CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Communications Manager Dina Sayedahmed, dsayedahmed@cair.com, W: 908-668-5900 ext. 103, C: 551-221-5592       

Court documents detail incidents of alleged discrimination, harassment, and bullying that Hannout has endured during his 17-year tenure at the Highland Park Police Department. In one instance, Hannout’s ethnic background was allegedly evoked by a high-ranking official while responding to a call. The same official would allegedly call Hannout a “terrorist.”    

Separately, another high-ranking official allegedly asked if Hannout’s ethnic group was “stupid” in response to another call.   

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Communications Manager Dina Sayedahmed said:   

“We are deeply disturbed by the allegations that Sergeant Mohab has made against the Highland Park Police Department, but his case seems to be just the tip of the iceberg.    

“The police department is overwhelmingly white, despite at least 38 percent of the borough population being non-white. Over the last three years, five Black officers have left the department. This is alarming.   

“The Borough has taken positive steps toward eliminating racism within its jurisdiction, but there still seems to be a long way to go within the police department especially.   

“We are optimistic that Mayor Elsie Foster will investigate Hannout’s credible claims in good faith and work to ensure that the apparent explicit and implicit biases within the Highland Park Police Department do not go unchecked.”    

Hannout’s hearing was originally scheduled for June 14, 2023, then postponed to September 8, 2023, and then postponed to November 16, 2023. The Sergeant has been on unpaid leave since August 15, 2022.

Hannout has previously filed suit against the Highland Park Police Department for discrimination. The department settled in 2017.  

 

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 Communications Manager Dina Sayedahmed, dsayedahmed@cair.com, W: 908-668-5900 ext. 103, C: 551-221-5592 

CAIR-NJ Echoes NJ Islamic Center Coalitions’ Disappointment in Elected Officials, Calls for Ceasefire

CAIR-NJ Echoes NJ Islamic Center Coalitions’ Disappointment in Elected Officials, Calls for Ceasefire 

(NEWARK, NJ, 11/03/2023) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today echoed the message of a coalition of New Jersey Islamic centers.

60 Islamic centers from across New Jersey have co-authored a letter addressed to Governor Phil Murphy and  New Jersey’s federal Senators and Representatives.

Their coalition letter states, in part:

“Your initial statements in particular were devoid of any context and largely ignored the reality of death, despair and destruction long befalling millions of innocent Palestinian civilians. These statements and those of our national leaders have also put the lives of Muslim, Arab and Palestinian Americans in jeopardy including a rise in Islamophobia and putting our constitutional rights at risk as our students and professionals are subject to intimidation and harassment. As concerned citizens who value justice and peace on a global scale, we feel compelled to express our concerns about the direction of the one-sided support that you have provided.”

It goes on to state:

“We now address you as bellwethers of a changing tide of sentiment between the Muslim community and our elected representatives. This division will mark a significant shift in public opinion of elected officials who are supposed to represent them. To date, only Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman has shown the courage and integrity to stand with the rest of the world’s voices (120 countries) and vote for an immediate ceasefire.”

SEE: New Jersey Muslim Coalition Letter

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

“This letter representants the collective frustration of New Jersey’s American Muslim community. We demand our representatives across the board do better. We echo the coalition’s demands and urge our elected officials to call for an immediate ceasefire, humanitarian aid, and to be a voice of justice, peace, and equality.

“It is outrageous to me that so many of our elected officials have prioritized the interests of a foreign government over their own constituents’ and that they have signed onto a genocide, over and over again, despite being implored not to. 

“New Jersey’s Palestinian and Muslim communities have been directly impacted by Israel’s bombardment of Palestine. Our call for a ceasefire has been met with a deafening silence beyond comprehension.

“This moment has marked a shifting tide between Muslims across the nation and in New Jersey specifically, and their elected officials who have neglected their responsibility to their constituents.” 

Maksut also noted that the CAIR-NJ office has received well over 100 calls for help in the past four weeks. That’s more than the past nine months combined. Normally CAIR-NJ receives two to four calls a week. Maksut called on New Jersey elected officials to condemn alarming rise in anti-Muslim incidents occuring in all sectors of public life. 

The Palestinian death toll in Gaza has risen past 9,000, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu adamantly rejects a ceasefire.

SEE:  Netanyahu declares it is ‘time for war’ as Israel hails hostage release

SEE: Gaza receives largest aid shipment so far as deaths top 8,000 and Israel widens military offensive   

CAIR-NJ continues to urge elected officials to push for a ceasefire in Gaza and across the West Bank as Israeli aggressions mount. The groups also mourns the loss of life in Palestine and stands firmly in unwavering solidarity with Palestinians and their right to freedom.

SEE: Ceasefire Now

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CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Communications Manager Dina Sayedahmed, dsayedahmed@cair.com, 908-668-5900 ext. 103