CAIR-NJ Condemns Rep. Gottheimer’s Alleged Anti-Muslim Remarks at Caucus Meeting, Calls on Him to Address Israeli Violence

CAIR-NJ Condemns Rep. Gottheimer’s Alleged Anti-Muslim Remarks at Caucus Meeting, Calls on Him to Address Israeli Violence

(NEWARK, NJ, 10/12/2023) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned Rep. Josh Gottheimer’s (D-N.J.) reported anti-Muslim remarks about Israel’s war on Gaza at a closed-door caucus meeting.

SEE: ‘Sh-t thing to say’: Tempers flare among House Dems over the Israel war

Rep. Gottheimer allegedly interjected when a Pennsylvania House Democrat said that she did not want any religious community to feel ostracized, referring to a vigil she attended virtually in the wake of Israel’s war on Gaza. The vigil was absent of Muslim leaders. Some of the caucus meeting attendees reportedly overheard Rep. Gottheimer saying, “because they’re all guilty,” while others said he stated, “because they should feel guilty,” allegedly in reference to the Pennsylvania representative’s comment.

Others in the room were also taken aback by Rep. Gottheimer’s remarks, which they saw as insensitive to Muslims, according to Politico. One Democratic lawmaker shouted out: “Joshua!”

Rep. Greg Casar (D-Texas) told Rep. Gottheimer that his remarks were a “sh-t thing to say,” according to Politico, and called him “shameful.”

Rep. Gottheimer later told other Democrats at the meeting that his comments were taken out of context.

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

The allegations against Rep. Gottheimer are deeply disturbing, particularly because members of his constituency wrote to him this week expressing concerns and making direct and clear asks. 

If such allegations are true, it stands that his remarks are not only insensitive, but also accusatory and inflammatory. What, exactly, are Muslims guilty of? What should they feel guilty about? What sort of message does this send?

The representative’s approach to Israel’s occupation of Palestine and its ongoing siege of Gaza — and current war — have been consistently inaccurate and unethical. They overlook and dehumanize Palestinians as a whole. 

We reiterate our asks and call on him to condemn the root cause of violence in Gaza, which is Israel’s ongoing siege and blockade of the strip. We continue to mourn the loss of innocent life and stand firmly in unwavering solidarity with Gazans, who have the right to freedom. 

Separately, CAIR-NJ wrote an open letter to New Jersey elected officials, calling on them to respond to the calls of Palestinian civil society and to act in response to Israel’s war on Gaza.

SEE: Open Letter to New Jersey Elected Officials  

Muslim community members also wrote to their representatives, calling on them to address Israel’s belligerency in Gaza and the Occupied West Bank, which the UN calls a “substantial obstacle to peace.”

SEE: Urge Your Members of Congress to Address Root Cause of Violence 

 

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

END        

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

CAIR-NJ, NJ Mosques, and Partners Publish Open Letter, Urge New Jersey Elected Officials to Act on Palestine and Address Root Cause of Violence

CAIR-NJ, NJ Mosques, and Partners Publish Open Letter, Urge New Jersey Elected Officials to Act on Palestine and Address Root Cause of Violence    

(Newark, NJ, 10/11/2023) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today disseminated an open letter to New Jersey elected officials calling on them to respond to the calls of Palestinian civil society and to act in response to Israel’s war on Gaza.  

SEE: Open Letter to New Jersey Elected Officials   

The letter states, in part:   

The Muslim community has long called for an end to Israel’s illegal occupation, Palestinians’ right to return to their ancestral lands, and the right to self-determination. This remains our call.  

We write to you today as a consolidation from within your constituency. The undersigned community organizations further urge your respected offices to take the following actions:  

  1. Address Israel’s heightened levels of violence and settlement expansions as of late;  
  2. Review Israel’s continued harassment of Palestinians and Palestinian Americans especially who seek to visit their homelands especially in light of Israel’s admission to the U.S. visa waiver program;  
  3. And to meet with our community to take lead and introduce you to medical and legal experts on Israeli state oppression.   

The Palestinian American Community Center and American Muslims for Palestine co-authored the letter. It was signed onto by fourteen local mosques across the state.   

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

We continue to stand firmly against Israeli occupation and in opposition to Israel’s relentless bombing of civilian infrastructure including hospitals and humanitarian aid, and its ongoing siege and blockade of the 25-mile-long strip.   

Our solidarity and support are unwaveringly with our sisters and brothers in Gaza and the Occupied West Bank.   

Palestinians and Muslim Americans make up a thriving segment of New Jersey’s population. They — we — are committed businesspeople, medical and legal professionals, educators, engineers, elected officials, and much more, and it is entirely unacceptable for elected officials to completely overlook our pain — which is why we are reaching out and reiterating our asks, as we have been over the last week.   

The American Muslim community expects support from our elected leaders and hope to see that in the days to come.  

We wish no harm on any innocent soul, especially no women, or child neither and we mourn the lives lost. Israel and only Israel bears responsibility for the calamities that we have been witnessing for that is the natural result of their oppression.  

CAIR-NJ also called on members of the public to write to their representatives, calling on them to address Israel’s belligerency in Gaza and the Occupied West Bank, which the UN calls a “substantial obstacle to peace.  

SEE: Urge Your Members of Congress to Address Root Cause of Violence 

 

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

END       

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

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

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

(Newark, NJ, 10/08/2023) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned New Jersey elected officials’ ignoring of the Palestinian peoples’ suffering at the hands of Israel’s latest onslaught of Gaza, and called on them to meet with Palestinian human rights advocates.

CAIR-NJ has also written to local and state officials with suggested language, additional background information, and resources for their use.

Israeli forces killed at least 232 people and wounded 1,600 others in the Gaza strip in the last 24 hours.

The growing civilian casualty toll comes in response to Hamas’s latest offensive, which killed at least 250 Israelis and wounded hundreds more. The assault on Israel came as a response to the Israeli Defense Forces’ most recent assault on al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and its ongoing siege and blockade of Gaza.

The United Nations has called Israel’s aggressions in Gaza and the Occupied West Bank “illegal under international law” and a “substantial obstacle to peace.”

A number of New Jersey elected officials issued statements in support of Israel’s latest aggressions in Gaza. The New Jersey chapter of American Muslim in Palestine announced a call to join protests in surrounding areas organized by The People’s ForumAl-Awda, and others.

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

We have long condemned, and continue to condemn, Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine. For nearly two decades, Israel has kept Gaza in an open-air prison through its illegal ongoing land, air, and sea blockade. That the people of Gaza effectively broke out of prison — resisting an occupation that is not only inhumane but also illegal under international law — is inevitable and should not be unexpected. We stand with Gazans and Palestinians as they demand dignity.   

We also condemn New Jersey elected officials’ statements in support of Israeli apartheid. To paint an image of one-sidedness is both inaccurate and unethical, and an affront to the Palestinian American families and communities here in New Jersey that have long held up Paterson, Clifton, and other areas throughout the state through community service, business, medicine, legal work, education, and more.    

In the same ways that these elected officials have supported the Ukrainian people’s sovereignty, resistance, and will, they must also do the same for Palestinians, who’ve lived under Israeli apartheid and occupation for the better half of the last century. We urge them to meet with human rights attorneys from Al Mezan Center for Human Rights and to make space for Palestinian defenders of human rights to speak to the reality of Israeli oppression, which very directly affects the thriving Palestinian American constituency here in New Jersey.    

We call on those who support human rights and liberty to join local actions here in New Jersey and surrounding areas in support of the Palestinian call for freedom.

In a statement, the National Lawyers Guild emphasized the legitimacy of the right of the Palestinian people to resist illegal military occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing, and urges the United States to stop enabling and arming Israel’s perpetration of its atrocities.

SEE: NLG International emphasizes Palestinian right to resist, stands in solidarity with Palestine

 

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

END       

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

CAIR to Announce Lawsuit in D.C., N.J., Mass., Mich. Seeking End to Secret Government Watchlist

CAIR to Announce Lawsuit in D.C., N.J., Mass., Mich. Seeking End to Secret Government Watchlist

Suit with a dozen Muslim plaintiffs will mark the 20th anniversary (Sept. 16) of Terrorism Screening Dataset

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/15/2023) – On Monday, Sept. 18, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, plans to hold a news conference to announce the filing of a lawsuit with a dozen plaintiffs seeking an end to the government’s secret watchlist that almost exclusively targets Muslims for harassment and humiliation when they travel. CAIR’s lawsuit will mark the 20th anniversary (Sept. 16) of the Terrorism Screening Dataset.

NOTE: Mayor Mohamed T. Khairullah of Prospect Park, N.J., is one of the plaintiffs. On May 1, Khairullah was barred from attending the White House’s annual Eid al-Fitr celebration.    

CAIR chapters in New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Michigan will also hold news conferences announcing the lawsuit for plaintiffs in those states.

NJ DETAILS    

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

WHEN: Monday, September 18, at 12:30 p.m.

WHO: Mohamed T. Khairullah, Mayor of Prospect Park, NJ; Ayah Zaki, Civil Rights Attorney at CAIR-NJ.; Gadeir Abbas, Senior Litigation Attorney at CAIR LDF

LAWSUIT FILESTAMPED COPY: cair-nj.org/lawsuit

LIVESTREAM: cair-nj.org/CAIRNJPresser

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

DC DETAILS    

WHERE: CAIR National Office, 453 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003

WHEN:  Monday, Sept. 18 at 11 a.m.

CONTACT: CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, 202-642-4934, lmasri@cair.com; CAIR Staff Attorney Hannah Mullen, 202-742-6420, hmullen@cair.comCAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Manager Ismail Allison, 202-770-6280, iallison@cair.com

BACKGROUNDER:    

In June, CAIR released a report, titled “Twenty Years Too Many, A Call to Stop the FBI’s Secret Watchlist,” which details the federal government’s use of the Terrorism Screening Dataset to target Muslims, and called President Biden to take action to address the watchlist.

CAIR’s report found that the overwhelming majority, estimated to be around 98 percent, of names on the watchlist are Muslim names. More than 350,000 entries alone in the portion of the watchlist acquired by CAIR include some transliteration of Mohamed or Ali or Mahmoud, and the top 50 most frequently occurring names are all Muslim names.

An individual’s watchlist status is used by government agencies to harass and humiliate people when they travel, to outright forbid people from flying, to deny individuals licenses and permits, to refuse to hire people or fire people already employed, to delay or deny visas and applications for U.S. citizenship or a U.S. passport, and to subject the innocent people on the list to dangerous and invasive law enforcement actions.

READ THE FULL REPORT 

WATCH CAIR’S NEWS CONFERENCE ANNOUNCING THE REPORT

The watchlist is Islamophobic. An expert statistical analysis of leaked portions of the 2019 watchlist estimates that at least 98.3% of the names on the watchlist are identifiably Muslim. That doesn’t happen by accident. The federal government admits that they consider individuals’ race, religion, ethnicity, and national origin in deciding who to place on the watchlist. The government intentionally targets Muslims for inclusion on the list and considers individuals from Muslim-majority countries, travel to Muslim-majority countries, attending mosques, zakat donations to Muslim charities, the wearing of typical Muslim dress, the frequency of Muslim prayer, adherence to Islamic religious practices, Islamic religious study, the transfer of money to individuals residing in Muslim-majority countries, affiliations with Muslim organizations, and associations with Muslims in the United States or abroad to be suspicious.    

The government places individuals on the watchlist without investigating, indicting, or convicting them of any crime. The government admits that it places people on the watchlist even when they are not being investigated or prosecuted for any terrorism-related crime. In practice, that means that innocent Americans—who could not be charged or convicted of any crime in court—are nonetheless targeted for harm and stigmatization by the federal government.    

The government places individuals on the watchlist without any warning or explanation. When someone is placed on the watchlist, they receive no notice from the government. They have no idea why the government considers them worthy of permanent suspicion, have no opportunity to dispute the government’s decision, and no way to confront and counter the supposedly derogatory information on which their placement is based. Instead, one day, out of the blue, based on the way that they’re being harmed and mistreated by federal government agents or other entities, they realize that they’ve been branded as a “known or suspected terrorist.”    

Watchlist placement turns innocent Americans’ lives upside-down. When someone is placed on the watchlist, almost every aspect of their life can be affected. The federal government sends the watchlist to federal agencies, over 18,000 state and local law enforcement agencies, over 500 private entities, and dozens of foreign countries, all of which then take actions to harm and stigmatize listed individuals.

As a result of being watchlisted, innocent Americans are publicly humiliated, surveilled, and harassed when they travel; prevented from attending weddings, funerals, graduations, and other milestone events; separated from their children; denied jobs, security clearances, U.S. citizenship, visas, gun licenses, and other government benefits; and even effectively exiled from the United States.

Watchlist placement extrajudicially sentences innocent Americans to permanent second-class citizenship. CAIR’s lawsuit reveals for the first time that, even on the rare occasion that the government removes an individual from the watchlist, an individual’s past watchlist will continue to haunt them. Federal agencies retain records of past watchlist status and use them to deny formerly-listed individuals access to government buildings, security clearances, federal employment, and other licenses and government benefits.

 

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

END 

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

 

CAIR, CAIR-NJ Welcome Westfield School Board’s Reversal of Motion to Remove Professor Sahar Aziz

CAIR, CAIR-NJ Welcome New Jersey School Board’s Reversal of Motion to Remove Professor Sahar Aziz

(Washington, DC, 9/13/2023) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the Westfield, NJ school board’s unanimous vote to reverse an earlier decision to consider removing Professor Sahar Aziz from the board.

This action targeting the Westfield Board of Education’s first and only Muslim member raised concerns that CAIR-NJ expressed to the board members in a letter on September 8. In the letter, CAIR-NJ pointed to the absence of a “just cause,” writing, “We also ask for clarification on what constitutes a ‘just cause’ that precedes a removal hearing. Furthermore, we ask if other board members who’ve missed special meetings scheduled just days in advance or consecutive meetings were also subject to a removal hearing or equally warned.”

On Monday, September 11, the board voted 7-0 vote to rescind its earlier action targeting Professor Aziz. The public agenda for Monday’s meeting listed only “board action item” as its sole purpose, leaving its purpose unclear which in part prompted CAIR’s letter.

SEE: Westfield Rescinds Decision to Remove School Board Member

In a statement, CAIR Research and Advocacy Director Corey Saylor said:

“The unanimous vote indicates the full board understood the implications of targeting Professor Aziz. 

“Regardless, we will continue to monitor the Westfield School Board to ensure this illegitimate effort to remove Professor Aziz does not manifest in a new form in the coming months.”

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

“Board Member Aziz comes with a unique and valued perspective, and we are eager to see her continue in her role at the Westfield Board of Education. 

“We are optimistic that board members will work together to ensure an inclusive and welcoming environment, demonstrating Board Member Aziz’s commitment to Westfield and the Board’s desire for her contributions.”

Saylor and Maksut both thanked the Muslim community local to Westfield and concerned citizens who attended Monday’s hearing.

SEE: Special Westfield, NJ Board of Education Meeting 9/11/23. School Board Member Sahar Aziz’s Remarks

(Note: The version posted by the school board’s version removes portions of Aziz’s remarks.).

SEE: Professor Sahar Aziz’s Full Written Remarks for Hearing

 

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

END 

CONTACT: CAIR Research and Advocacy Director Corey Saylor, csaylor@cair.com, 202-384-8857; CAIR-NJ Communications Manager Dina Sayedahmed, dsayedahmed@cair.com, 908-668-5900 ext. 103

CAIR-NJ Offers Condolences on Passing of New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Y. Oliver, the First Black Woman to be Speaker of the General Assembly

CAIR-NJ Offers Condolences on Passing of New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Y. Oliver, the First Black Woman to be Speaker of the General Assembly    

(NEWARK, NJ, 08/01/2023) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today offered condolences on the passing of New Jersey Lieutenant Governor, Sheila Y. Oliver.   

Oliver died at age 71 after she was hospitalized this week for an undisclosed medical issue, her family and the Murphy administration announced on Tuesday.   

SEE: Statement from Gov. Murphy on the Passing of Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver    

Oliver served as the state’s lieutenant governor since 2018. She concurrently served as the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, where she led efforts to strengthen and expand initiatives for fair and affordable housing, community revitalization, homelessness prevention, and local government services that support New Jersey’s 565 municipalities.     

In 2010, she became the first Black woman in state history to serve as Assembly Speaker, and just the second in the nation’s history to lead a state legislative house.    

In 2021, Oliver was reelected to serve a second term in office as Lieutenant Governor.   

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

“I extend my deepest condolences to the Lieutenant Governor’s loved ones and to the Murphy administration. I wish them peace during their grieving period.”    

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

“I offer my sincere condolences to the late Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey Sheila Y. Oliver’s family, friends, and the entire Murphy Administration.    

“The Lieutenant Governor’s legacy and impact as the first Black woman to be Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly and the second Black woman to lead any state legislature will live on.”   

Senate President Nicholas P. Scutari (LD-22), a fellow Democrat, has assumed the duties of Acting Governor in Governor Murphy’s absence and in light of Oliver’s passing. No public events are currently on his schedule. 

 

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

END       

CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Communications Manager Dina Sayedahmed, dsayedahmed@cair.com, 551-221-5592 

CAIR-NJ Congratulates Dr. Jabeen Ahmed on Appointment as VP for NJ State Board of Pharmacy

CAIR-NJ Congratulates Dr. Jabeen Ahmed on Appointment as VP for NJ State Board of Pharmacy        

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 7/20/2023) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today congratulated Dr. Jabeen Ahmed on her appointment to the New Jersey State Board of Pharmacy as vice president.   

Dr. Ahmed is likely the first Muslim to be appointed to such a position. She is also a board member of the Paterson Coalition Against Substance Abuse and Commissioner of the Passaic County Board of Social Services. 

Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh previously honored Dr. Jabeen Ahmed with the Key to the City for her efforts during the COVID pandemic. The City of Paterson said that Dr. Ahmed was instrumental in Paterson achieving the highest vaccination rates in the state through her work at Sheefa Pharmacy.   

SEE: Paterson doctor honored with Key to the City for efforts in the community during COVID-19 pandemic   

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

“Dr. Jabeen Ahmed has played a pivotal role in uplifting the Muslim community in New Jersey and the Paterson and Passaic communities at large through her pharmaceutical work.   

“We’re exceptionally proud of her and we’re excited to see her accomplish more and reach more professional and personal milestones.    

“In her new role at the New Jersey State Board of Pharmacy, Dr. Ahmed paves the way for Muslims — and Muslim women especially — to continue excelling and serving their respective communities.”   

In a statement, New Jersey State Board of Pharmacy Vice President Dr. Jabeen Ahmed said:  

“I am humbled to have the confidence and support of my colleagues and board members to serve as the Vice President for the New Jersey Board of Pharmacy.     

“As a woman, and the first Muslim to serve in this role, there is an added responsibility — a responsibility to encourage diversity, provide insight into the challenges of minorities and those living in inner cities, and, most importantly, a responsibility to continue carrying my faith-based values in this new capacity.     

“I did not seek this endeavor, but I hope it encourages more women, especially Muslim women, to seek positions where we can protect and serve the public effectively. I look forward to being a student and a guide on issues of focus, such as women’s health and substance use disorders.”   

The State Board of Pharmacy, which falls under the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, works to protect the health, safety, and welfare of New Jersey residents. The Board also regulates pharmaceutical practices, reviews regulations and legislation that govern the practice of pharmacy, and issues (or withdraws) practicing licenses. 

 

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

END       

CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Communications Manager Dina Sayedahmed, dsayedahmed@cair.com, 551-221-5592  

CAIR-NJ, Partners Call on Clifton City Council to Uphold Free Speech, Reject Controversial IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

CAIR-NJ, Partners Call on Clifton City Council to Uphold Free Speech, Reject Controversial IHRA Definition of Antisemitism 
    

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 07/18/2023) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today joined community partners in calling on the Clifton City Council to uphold the principles of free speech and to reject the controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.   

The Clifton City Council will be deliberating on adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism on Tuesday, July 18 at a general council meeting at 8pm.    

Antisemitism is generally defined as prejudice against and/or hatred of those who identify as Jewish or are associated with Judaism. The IHRA definition of antisemitism expands antisemitism to also include critiques or criticisms of Israel, including Israeli settler colonialism, occupation of the West Bank, its apartheid leveraged against Palestinians, and the ethnic cleansing and oppression of the Palestinian people. Numerous human rights groups, including the major Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, have found these to be violations of international human rights law.   

SEE: International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance muzzles critics of Israel   

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

“The IHRA definition wrongly conflates criticisms of Israel with antisemitism. It silences political debate and muzzles critics of Israel and its far-right racist government. It also delegitimizes the Palestinian movement for self-determination.   

“Adopting the IHRA definition in any capacity poses a threat to residents’ free speech and stifles political discourse in the classroom. We are optimistic that the Clifton City Council will protect residents’ rights and reject the definition.”   

In a statement, Palestinian American Community Center Executive Director Rania Mustafa said:   

“PACC was established in 2014 and over the last 9 and a half years, our existence has been a testament to the fact we have become an integral and staple part of the city of Clifton, but adopting the IHRA definition threatens the existence of our community-oriented and civic engagement work.   

“As an organization we stand firmly against any form of antisemitism, but if this resolution passes, much of our educational work will be put at risk. We cannot teach about the Palestinian struggle or for social and humanitarian justice without calling out Israel, which, based on the IHRA definition, would be deemed as antisemitic.   

“We urge the City Council to combat bigotry in all its form and shapes, but absolutely not at the expense of another community — and definitely not at the expense of our growing Palestinian community.”   

In a statement, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return Co-Founder David Letwin said:   

“As a Jewish resident of Northern New Jersey, and a descendant of victims of antisemitic violence, from Tsarist pogroms to the Holocaust, I strongly urge you not to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) ‘Working Definition of Antisemitism.’ 

 “Misrepresenting itself as a framework for understanding antisemitism, the IHRA definition is in fact a contrivance to smear and silence those who rightly condemn the racism inherent in Zionism and the apartheid Israeli regime.     

“Formally enshrining the sham IHRA definition will serve no purpose other than to undermine local solidarity with Palestinians seeking justice throughout their historic homeland. I once again implore you to reject it.”   

SEE: NJ Palestine solidarity organizations oppose resolution to adopt IHRA antisemitism definition   

In a statement, American Muslims for Palestine New Jersey Chair Wassim Kanaan said:   

“IHRA’s weaponizing of anti-Semitism as a means to stifle advocacy for Palestinian human rights is unethical.    

“Criticism of Israel is rooted in its oppressive policies toward the Palestinian people, not identity. The effort to adopt IHRA in Clifton is not isolated, rather it is part of a broader plan to stop the growing shift in American public opinion calling for Justice for the Palestinian people.” 

 

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

END        

CONTACT:CAIR-NJ Communications Manager Dina Sayedahmed, dsayedahmed@cair.com, 551-221-5592

CAIR-NJ Calls on New Jersey Members of Congress to Boycott Israeli Pres. Herzog’s Address to Congress

CAIR-NJ Calls on New Jersey Members of Congress to Boycott Israeli Pres. Herzog’s Address to Congress    

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 07/18/2023)– The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today joined in the call for members of Congress to boycott Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, July 19, on the grounds of Israel’s glaring human rights law violations.   

SEE: Boycott Israeli Pres. Isaac Herzog’s Address to Congress     

Israeli settlers stormed the West Bank village of Turmusayya and set fire to homes and cars, where Afif Alasmar, a Clifton business owner, was visiting family. He and his family tried to reach the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem for four hours.        

SEE: NJ residents say US turned its back on them when they were attacked on vacation          

Israeli settlers’ attacks in Turmusayya coincided with Israel’s deadly large-scale raid on Jenin, a Palestinian city home to one of the largest refugee camps in the Occupied West Bank. Israeli settlers killed at least seven Palestinians and injured at least two dozen others. The raid on Jenin began in the midst of Eid ul-Adha, one of two major Islamic holidays.         

SEE: Israel stages a deadly large-scale raid on Palestinian Jenin camp in the West Bank         

Videos also show the Israeli military ploughing through roads in Jenin and targeting journalists, in violation of international human rights law.          

SEE: Israeli bulldozer destroys Jenin street during raid     

SEE: Palestine: Journalists targeted by Israeli forces during raid in Jenin         

CAIR-NJ also directly wrote to New Jersey representatives and Senators urging them to stand by their constituency and boycott President Herzog’s address.

SEE: Progressives plan boycott of Israeli president’s speech to Congress 

SEE: CAIR Applauds Lawmakers Boycotting Speech by Israeli President Due to Country’s ‘Systematic and Escalating’ Human Rights Abuses     

[NOTEIn June, CAIR-NJ welcomed Rep. Watson Coleman’s principled boycott of Prime Minister Modi’s address to Congress]   

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

“The Israeli government has been found, by many respected groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, to be guilty of grave human rights and international law violations. Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s address comes on heels of Israeli settlers’ attacks in Turmusayya and Israel’s deadly large-scale raid on Jenin, a Palestinian city home to one of the largest refugee camps in the Occupied West Bank. 

“Inviting Israeli President Herzog to address a joint session of Congress at a time when the far-right, racist government he represents just set a record for illegal settlement approvals — and during the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank, no less — sends the message that the U.S. government condones war crimes and human rights violations.   

“We urge all New Jersey members of Congress to boycott Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s address and to call on the Israeli government to end its illegal occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people, including Palestinian-Americans who are New Jersey residents.” 

Earlier this month CAIR-NJ called on New Jersey Gov. Murphy to ensure protections for Palestinian Americans under attack by Israeli settlers. 

   

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, 551-221-5592

CAIR-NJ Calls on Gov. Murphy to Ensure Protections for Palestinian-Americans Under Attack by Israeli Settlers

CAIR-NJ Calls on Gov. Murphy to Ensure Protections for Palestinian-Americans Under Attack by Israeli Settlers

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 07/07/2023) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today called on Gov. Murphy’s administration to ensure protections for Palestinian-American dual citizens under attack by Israeli settlers in the Occupied West Bank      

Israeli settlers stormed the West Bank village of Turmusayya and set fire to homes and cars, where Afif Alasmar, a Clifton business owner, was visiting family. He and his family tried to reach the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem for four hours.     

Israeli settlers’ attacks in Turmusayya coincided with Israel’s deadly large-scale raid on Jenin, a Palestinian city home to one of the largest refugee campin the Occupied West Bank. Israeli settlers killed at least seven Palestinians and injured at least two dozen others. The raid on Jenin began in the midst of Eid ul-Adha, one of two major Islamic holidays.      

Videos also show the Israeli military ploughing through roads in Jenin and targeting journalists.       

U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said of the Israeli attacks, “obviously in this situation, there was an excessive force used by Israeli forces.”     

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

“Between large scale, deadly raids in Jenin and the burning of cars and homes in Turmusayya — during one of the holiest times of the Islamic calendar, no less — Israeli settlers’ surge in violence in recent weeks is especially concerning. A number of Palestinian civilians have since been killed and several more injured.  

“Hundreds of Palestinian families in New Jersey trace their ancestry to the West Bank village of Turmusayya and the camps of Jenin. It is unacceptable that the U.S. Embassy did not respond to families’ calls for help.       

“We urge Governor Murphy to take concrete action to ensure the protection of Palestinian-Americans in the Occupied West Bank against Israeli settler violence. We also urge the Governor to fulfill the promise of citizenship and ensure the immediate safety of Palestinian-American citizens.      

“Furthermore, we call on New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way to reevaluate New Jersey’s partnerships with Israel through the New Jersey Israel Commission. It is unbefitting of New Jersey, one of the most diverse states nationwide with a vibrant Arab and Muslim population, to partner with such a foreign government that has been found, in numerous courts of law, to be guilty of grave human rights violations.”      

CAIR has written a letter to Yael Lempert, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State, and Hady Amr, Special Representative for Palestinian Affairs, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, calling on them to take concrete actions to protect Palestinians and Palestinian-Americans under attack by Israeli settlers.     

    

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

END      

CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Communications Manager Dina Sayedahmeddsayedahmed@cair.com, 551-221-5592