CAIR-NJ, Coalition Partners to Testify at State House in Support of Muslim Heritage Month Resolution 

CAIR-NJ, Coalition Partners to Testify at State House in Support of Muslim Heritage Month Resolution   

MEDIA ADVISORY 

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 03/17/2023) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) will join New Jersey community leaders at the State House Annex in Trenton to testify in support of the Muslim Heritage Month resolution [AJR194].

WHEN:  Monday, March 20, 2023, at 2pm  

WHERE:State House Annex, 125 W State St, Trenton, NJ 08608, Committee Room 13, 4th floor  

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

The resolution, which designates January of each year as “Muslim Heritage Month” in New Jersey, calls upon local government agencies and organizations to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and educational programs that pay homage to the growing American Muslim community.   

The resolution is sponsored by Assemblywoman McKnight (LD-31), Assemblywoman Speight (LD-29), and Assemblywoman Chaparro (LD-33), and co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Jaffer (LD-16), Assemblyman Stanley (LD-18), Assemblywoman Haider (LD-37), Assemblyman DePhillips (LD-40), and Assemblyman Atkins (LD-20).  

SEE:  CAIR-NJ Leads Coalition Urging NJ State Assembly to Pass Muslim Heritage Month Resolution  

SEE:  New Jersey State Legislature Livestream 

New Jersey has the highest percentage of Muslims in the U.S., at 3.5 percent, according to the Pew Research Center. New Jersey also leads the way for local representation, with over 40 Muslim elected officials. Last year, the state elected the first ever Muslims to the New Jersey State Legislature, Sadaf Jaffer and Shama Haidar.  

Still, however, anti-Muslim incidents are on the rise. CAIR-NJ received over 150 calls for help in 2022 alone. The resolution seeks to push back against anti-Muslim bigotry by celebrating American Muslims and shedding a positive light on the community.

 

END        

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

 

CAIR-NJ Congratulates Nadia Kahf on her Confirmation as NJ Superior Court Judge

CAIR-NJ Congratulates Nadia Kahf on her Confirmation as NJ Superior Court Judge 

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 03/01/2023) The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed the New Jersey Senate’s vote to appoint Nadia Kahf as a Superior Court judge in New Jersey.  

Kahf, an immigration and family law attorney from Wayne, will be the first judge to wear a hijab (Islamic head scarf) on the Superior Court bench in New Jersey.

Ma’isha Aziz, Esq. is the first to wear hijab on the bench in New Jersey. She served on the Municipal Court of the Borough of Lawnside for seven years.

Kahf, who is also the former Board Chairwoman of CAIR-NJ, joins two other Muslim women, Sharifa Salaam and Kalimah Ahmad, on the Superior Court bench. 

SEE: She’s the first judge to wear a hijab on the bench in NJ. It’s not her only accomplishment  

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

“Nadia has long served the Muslim community in New Jersey, and I am honored to have worked under her leadership and guidance here at CAIR-NJ. 

“She brings a wealth of experiences that span across the legal field and meet at the intersections of Muslim and other marginalized communities, and we can’t think of anyone more fit for this position than her.   

“Benches and juries must reflect the communities they serve. Nadia’s appointment is a step in the right direction and brings us closer to an inclusive legal system.” 

Kahf was nominated by Governor Murphy a year ago but her confirmation was stalled by Senator Kristen Corrado. Since then, 90 community leaders, including mayors, council members, school board members, and leaders of the New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association signed a letter urging the Senator to act to advance Kahf’s nomination.  

 

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 Leads Coalition Urging NJ State Assembly to Pass Muslim Heritage Month Resolution

CAIR-NJ Leads Coalition Urging NJ State Assembly to Pass Muslim Heritage Month Resolution

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 3/1/2023) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) and more than 70 organizations and religious institutions, known as the “Muslim Heritage Month Coalition,” today urged the New Jersey State Assembly to pass the Assembly Joint Resolution AJR194, which designates January of each year as Muslim Heritage Month in New Jersey.

The coalition today wrote to Assembly State and Local Government committee members: Chair Assemblyman Verrelli (LD-15), Vice-Chair Assemblywoman Swain (LD-38), Assemblywoman Jaffer (LD-16), Assemblyman Simsonsen (LD-1), and Assemblyman Thomson (LD-30) urging them to hold a public hearing on Assembly Joint Resolution AJR194.

They also wrote to Assembly Speaker Coughlin (LD-19) urging him to facilitate passing the joint resolution on the Assembly side, so Governor Murphy can sign it into law, making New Jersey one of a few pioneering states committed to the celebration and recognition of American Muslims.

Earlier this month, the resolution advanced through the Senate but remains in the Assembly.

SEE:Pennacchio Bill to Establish Muslim Heritage Month in NJ Advances 

SEE: CAIR-NJ Welcomes State Senate’s Passing of Muslim Heritage Month Resolution, Calls on Assembly to Follow Suit

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

“Given the growing population of Muslims in New Jersey, it is only appropriate that the New Jersey State Legislature recognize and acknowledge the diverse and vibrant Muslim community.  

While we celebrate the State Senate’s passing of Senate Joint Resolution [SJR105], in tandem with our coalition partners and community members, we are calling on the Assembly State and Local Government Committee to hold a public hearing on the Assembly Joint Resolution [AJR194] and release it from the Assembly Committee so that it may move to an Assembly voting session and pass.” 

In a statement, Council of Imams in New Jersey Convener Imam Wahy-ud Deen Shareef said:      

“The history of Islam and the growing Muslim Community in New Jersey is rich in the lessons of how the human spirit struggles against social, political, and economic adversity to successfully establish a model life working to serve G_d and bring forward a model human society.  

The late Muslim American Leader, Imam W. Deen Mohammed, encouraged Muslims to establish the best spiritual and social life possible reflecting the high morals and ethics taught by the Qur’an, G_d’s Word, and exhibit in practice the model traditional life of Muhammad the Prophet (prayers and Peace be upon him). This month acknowledges and celebrates these honorable objectives for Muslims and all citizens of New Jersey.”

In a statement, NJ Muslim Organizer Jessica Berrocal said:   

“We ask elected officials to make history with Resolution AJR 194 in order to show the tapestry of New Jersey. 

The resolution began four years ago, when I met with Assembly Angela Mcknight and Annette Chaparro to advocate for our children’s acceptance in public schools and to raise awareness of Muslim children’s religious identities.”

The coalition letter sent to state legislators states, in part:

“From restrictions placed on Muslims to practice their faith, to profiling, bullying, bias incidents, hate crimes, and discrimination stemming from a lack of understanding of Islam, the need for a Muslim Heritage Month is crucial.

“The resolution to designate January as Muslim Heritage Month will play a critical role in public education and help discuss and celebrate American Muslims in culturally competent ways. By extension, this can help push back against anti-Muslim bigotry.”

SEE: Letter to Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin

SEE: Letter to Assembly State and Local Government Committee

Coalition Partners:

32BJ SEIU

Alchemy Consulting LLC

AlGhazaly School Inc – Jersey City

American Muslims for Palestine – New Jersey

Bakka Corp – Jersey City

Bergen County Islamic Education Center

Black Lives Matter Paterson

Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University

Center for Security, Race and Rights

Council of Imams in New Jersey

Darul Islah Masjid of Teaneck

Eid Committee

Fair Share Housing Center

Faith in New Jersey

Green Muslims of New Jersey

IMI

Indian American Muslim Council

Indonesian Muslim Society in America

Islamic Center of Ewing

Islamic Council of Greater Trenton

Islamic Center of Jersey City

Islamic Center of Morris County

Islamic Center of Passaic County

Islamic Center of Union County

Islamic Circle of North America

ICNA Council for Social Justice – New Jersey

Islamic Community Cultural Center

Islamic Society of Basking Ridge

Islamic Society of Central Jersey

Jam E Masjid of Boonton

League of Women Voters of New Jersey

Make the Road New Jersey

Masjid Al-Iman of Jersey City

Masjid As’Habul Yameen Inc

Masjidullah, Inc.

Masjid Muhammad – Newark

Masjid Shuhada

Masjid Ul Wadud of Montclair

Moroccan American Recreational and Organizational Council

Muslim Center of Middlesex County

Muslim Center of Somerset County

Muslim Community of New Jersey

Muslim Foundation Inc

Muslim League of Voters of New Jersey

NAACP New Jersey State Conference

National Domestic Workers Alliance – New Jersey

New Afrika Halal Group

New Brunswick Islamic Center

Newark Communities for Accountable Policing

New Freedom Works, Inc

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice

New Jersey Citizen Action

New Jersey Institute for Social Justice

New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association

New Jersey League of Conservation Voters

New Jersey Muslim Officers Society

New Jersey Policy Perspective

New Jersey Working Families Party

NIA Masjid & Community Center

NJ Sisterhood

North Hudson Islamic Center

Northern New Jersey Jewish Voice for Peace

North New Jersey Muslim Federation

Occupy Bergen County

Palestinian American Community Center

Salvation and Social Justice

Sikh Coalition

Shia Assocation of North America

Sheefa Pharmacy

Teaching While Muslim

United We Serve

 

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 Welcomes New Jersey Public School Districts’ Trend of Adding Eid to Academic Calendars

CAIR-NJ Welcomes New Jersey Public School Districts’ Trend of Adding Eid to Academic Calendar   

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 2/27/2023) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed a recent trend by New Jersey public school districts of adding Eid to the 2023-2024 academic calendar and closing schools in observance of the Muslim holiday.    

Fair Lawn Board of Education is one of the newest districts to add Eid ul-Fitr to the 2023-24 academic year and close schools in observance.    

The board’s unanimous decision, which was voted on February 23, comes after parents’ and students’ advocacy efforts, which recently organized under the umbrella group, Fair Lawn Muslim Community  

SEE: Fair Lawn Schools Add Eid to Holiday Calendar, Pull Easter Monday   

[NOTE: There are two major “Eid” holidays for Muslims. Eid ul-Adha (EED-UL-ADHA), commonly referred to as just “Eid,” is associated with the pilgrimage to Mecca, or Hajj, and commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail at God’s command. The holiday is celebrated with prayers, small gifts for children, distribution of meat to the needy, and social gatherings. During Eid ul-Fitr (EED-UL-FITTER) or “feast of fast breaking” holiday at the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan, Muslims offer public prayers, exchange social visits and seek to strengthen family and community bonds.]       

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Outreach Coordinator Zaid Hussein said:    

“We’re proud of the students and parents in Fair Lawn who’ve pushed for this accommodation, and we’re grateful to the Fair Lawn Board of Education for making this a smooth and graceful process.     

“New Jersey has the largest percentage of Muslims across the U.S., at 3.5 percent, so it only makes sense that more and more public schools in New Jersey would begin closing in observance of Eid. We’re optimistic that this accommodation across New Jersey schools will inspire conversations among students and staff that can be instrumental in pushing back against anti-Muslim bigotry.     

“Given the growing trend of schools closing in observance of Eid, we’re hopeful that more schools will follow Fair Lawn’s lead, and we’ve created a toolkit to help students and parents in their advocacy efforts.”   

He noted that Washington, D.C., based CAIR offers a booklet, called “An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for Muslim students.        

In a statement, President of Fair Lawn Muslim Community Waseem Mohammed said:   

“Closing schools for Eid is a necessary and long overdue accommodation. For the first time, our children will no longer have to choose between going to school and celebrating their holidays. With this vote, the Fair Lawn Board of Education adhered to its principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion.   

“We’re grateful to the Fair Lawn board of education for listening to students and parents. We hope that this tradition of closing schools in observance of Eid can continue for years to come, and that other boards of education across the state will replicate the model of Fair Lawn.”   

CAIR-NJ has tracked nearly 30 school closures for Eid ul-Fitr in 2022-2023. Nearly ten districts added school closures in observance of Eid For the 2023-2024 academic year, including Boonton, East Brunswick, Fanwood & Scotch Plains, Holmdel, Livingston, Warren, and Watchung Borough.    

CAIR-NJ has also written to local municipalities in an open letter urging them to close schools in observance of Eid ul-Fitr.   

SEE: CAIR-NJ Eid Map   

SEE: CAIR-NJ Eid Advocacy Open Letter  

The Open Letter states in part:  

“As such, the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations joins Muslim students, parents, and educators throughout the state in calling upon local municipalities to adopt Eid as a day off in the academic calendar. This is a necessary accommodation that will help ensure that Muslim students and staff do not face academic and professional disadvantages for missing school days to meet their religious obligations.    

“Approximately 30 school districts throughout New Jersey closed for Eid ul-Fitr in the 2022-2023 academic year. In December 2022, Warren Township decided to close schools for Eid ul-Fitr beginning in 2023-24. A few towns over, the Watchung Borough Board of Education moved to designate Eid ul-Fitr as a Staff Professional Development Day in 2024, closing schools for students. Hillside, Mount Olive, West Windsor, and Plainsboro public schools also give students time off to observe Eid.    

“Other districts, however, only offer an excused absence, leaving students in a quagmire: Should they prioritize their academic obligations over their religious duties, or vice versa?”   

 

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, NJVRA NOW Coalition Rally in Trenton in Support of a Stronger Version of John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New Jersey

CAIR-NJ, NJVRA NOW Coalition Rally in Trenton in Support of a Stronger Version of John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New Jersey 

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 2/24/2022) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) joined the New Jersey Voting Rights Act NOW Coalition at the State House in Trenton on Tuesday, Feb. 21 to call on state legislators to pass a strong version of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New Jersey (A4554/S2997) (NJVRA).   

NJVRA (A4554/S2997) is currently pending in the New Jersey Legislature.    

According to the NJVRA NOW Coalition, the NJVRA must: 

  • Establish a New Jersey preclearance program that makes local governments with a history of discrimination prove to the state or to a court in New Jersey that certain changes they make to the voting process will not harm voters of color before those changes can go into effect;  
  • Provide new legal tools to fight discriminatory voting rules and procedures in court;   
  • Expand language assistance for voters with limited English proficiency;   
  • Include strong protections against voter intimidation, deception or obstruction at the polls; 
  • Instruct state judges to interpret election laws in a pro-voter way whenever possible; and; 
  • Ensure local and state voting laws, procedures and regulations do not deny voters of color and other protected categories of voters the right to cast their vote. 

SEE: Over 50 Groups Rally to Urge Passage of New Jersey Voting Rights Act 

SEELive Stream of the Press Conference    

Since the 2016 election, there has been a national surge in voter suppression bills. Although New Jersey is one of the states that has proactively introduced legislation to expand voting access, there are still many remaining issues that obstruct equal access to the ballot.    

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

“Marginalized and vulnerable communities need better voting rights protections, and passing a stronger version of the NJVRA is critical to meeting this need.     

“We cannot boast of a strong and vibrant democracy if a large percentage of Americans are experiencing voter suppression. We stand with our coalition partners in calling on the state legislature to pass this bill, especially as we draw nearer to local elections here in New Jersey and, in a year from now, the 2024 presidential election.”   

She noted that CAIR maintains a non-partisan “Muslims Vote” campaign designed to empower American Muslims by increasing their political capacity and presence.  

GO TO: muslims.vote

 

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, CAIR-NJ Offer Condolences on Passing of Zarinah Shakir

CAIR, CAIR-NJ Offer Condolences on Passing of Zarinah Shakir

(WASHINGTON D.C., 2/6/23) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today offered its condolences on the passing of media personality and community activist Zarinah Shakir.

Shakir was the producer of an Interfaith television program and former producer/host of “The Struggle Continues” on WPFW 89.3FM radio, WDC (Pacifica Network). She produced two documentaries about African-American Pioneer Muslim women on WDC. Shakir studied Broadcast Journalism and Mass Communications at San Francisco State University and Creative Arts Interdisciplinary (graduate) at San Francisco State University. In 2014, she was awarded Best in Media during the Golden Minaret Awards.

SEE: DCTV Member Zarinah Shakir on CNN 

In a statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:

“To God we belong and to Him we return. We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Sister Zarinah Shakir. Sr. Zarinah was a great friend of CAIR and a tremendous asset and inspiration for the Muslim and interfaith communities. She will be greatly missed.” 

CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said:

“To God we belong and to Him we return. The New Jersey Muslim community mourns the death of Sr. Zarinah Shakir. She was supportive of CAIR-NJ and a warm presence in our community. We will miss having her contribute her wealth of knowledge and experience at future events.”  

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

END

CONTACT: CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell, 404-285-9530, e-Mitchell@cair.com; CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, rmccaw@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com CAIR National Communications Coordinator Ismail Allison, 202-770-6280, iallison@cair.com

CAIR-NJ Welcomes State Senate’s Passing of Muslim Heritage Month Resolution, Calls on Assembly to Follow Suit

CAIR-NJ Welcomes State Senate’s Passing of Muslim Heritage Month Resolution, Calls on Assembly to Follow Suit

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 2/3/2023) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed the State Senate’s passing of Senate Joint Resolution [SJR105] designating January of each year as “Muslim Heritage Month” in New Jersey and calls on the Assembly to follow suit and pass Assembly Joint Resolution [AJR194].

Earlier this month, CAIR-NJ joined New Jersey community leaders and coalition partners at the Senate Chambers in support of the Senate Joint Resolution. Late last year, CAIR-NJ testified in support of the resolution, calling attention to the state’s growing Muslim population.

SEE: CAIR-NJ, Community Leaders Testify in Support of Muslim Heritage Month Resolution

The joint resolution was sponsored by Senator Pennacchio (LD-26) and Senator Stack (LD-33) and co-sponsored by Senator Bucco (LD-25), Senator Durr (LD-3), Senator Turner (LD-15), Senator Gopal (LD-11), Senator Greenstein (LD-14), Senator Lagana (LD-38), Senator Pou (LD-35) and Senator Zwicker (LD-16).

It calls upon local government agencies and interested government organizations to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and education programs acknowledging, promoting awareness of, and appreciating Muslim Americans and recognizing the contributions of New Jersey Muslims.

SEE: Pennacchio Bill to Establish Muslim Heritage Month in NJ Advances

New Jersey has the highest percentage of Muslim residents in the U.S., at 3 percent, according to the Pew Research Center. New Jersey also leads the way for local representation, with over 40 elected officials. Last year, the state elected the first ever Muslims to the New Jersey State Legislature, Assemblywomen Sadaf Jaffer (LD-16) and Shama Haidar (LD-37).

Still, however, anti-Muslim incidents are on the rise. CAIR-NJ received over 160 calls for help in 2022 alone. The joint resolution seeks to push back against anti-Muslim bigotry by celebrating American Muslims.

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

“Given the growing population of Muslims in New Jersey, it is only appropriate that the State Legislature recognize and acknowledge that diverse and vibrant community.

“We are excited to see the resolution move through the Senate, and we are optimistic that the State Assembly will do the same. We are hopeful that New Jersey will soon recognize January as a month dedicated to celebrating Muslims.

“In tandem with our coalition partners and community members, we call upon the Assembly State and Local Government Committee to hold a public hearing on the Assembly Joint Resolution [AJR194] and release it from the Assembly Committee so that it may move to an Assembly voting session and pass.”

In August last year, Senator Cory Booker submitted a resolution to recognize Muslim American heritage month.

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

Coalition Partners:
American Muslims for Democracy

American Muslims for Palestine-New Jersey

Black Lives Matter – Paterson

Bergen County Islamic Education Center
Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University

Center for Security, Race and Rights

Council of Imams in New Jersey

Faith in New Jersey
ICNA Council for Social Justice

Indian American Muslim Council

Islamic Center of Morris County

Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, Inc.

Jews for Palestinian Right of Return

League of Women Voters of New Jersey

Make the Road New Jersey
Maroc Organization

Masjid Al-Imam

Masjid As’Habul Yameen Inc

Masjid Muhammad – Newark

Masjid Shuhada

Masjid Ul Wadud of Montclair

Muslims 4 Peace
Muslim League of Voters of New Jersey
New Jersey Alliance For Immigrant Justice

New Jersey Consortium for Immigrant Children

Newark Communities for Accountable Policing

New Jersey Institute for Social Justice

New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association

New Jersey Muslim Voice for Progress
New Jersey Sisterhood

North NJ Democratic Socialist of American BDS and Palestine Solidarity Working Group

Northern NJ Jewish Voice for Peace

Palestinian American Community Center

Salvation and Social Justice

Teaching While Muslim

Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center

 

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 to Attend NJ Senate Voting Session on Muslim Heritage Month Resolution

CAIR-NJ to Attend NJ Senate Voting Session on Muslim Heritage Month Resolution     

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 02/01/2023) — On Wednesday, Feb. 2, the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) will join New Jersey community leaders at the Senate Chambers in support of the Muslim Heritage Month resolution [SJR105]. State Senators are expected to vote on the joint resolution at 2pm.     

WHEN: Wednesday, February 2, 2023, at 2 p.m.                

WHERE: 135 W State Street, Trenton, NJ 08608     

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

The joint resolution, which designates January of each year as “Muslim Heritage Month” in New Jersey, is sponsored by Senator Pennacchio (LD-26) and Senator Stack (LD-33) and co-sponsored by Senator Bucco (LD-25), Senator Durr (LD-3), Senator Turner (LD-15), and Senator Gopal (LD-11). It calls upon local government agencies and interested government organizations to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and education programs acknowledging, promoting awareness of, and appreciating Muslim Americans and recognizing the contributions of New Jersey Muslims.     

SEE: Pennacchio Bill to Establish Muslim Heritage Month in NJ Advances  

SEE: New Jersey lawmakers considering resolution to establish January as Muslim Heritage Month   

New Jersey has the highest percentage of Muslim residents in the U.S., at 3 percent, according to the Pew Research Center. New Jersey also leads the way for local representation, with over 40 elected officials. Last year, the state elected the first ever Muslims to the New Jersey State Legislature, Assemblywomen Sadaf Jaffer (LD-16) and Shama Haidar (LD-37).         

Still, however, anti-Muslim incidents are on the rise. CAIR-NJ received over 150 calls for help in 2022 alone. The resolution seeks to combat anti-Muslim bigotry by celebrating Muslim Americans and shedding a positive light on the community. 

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 Welcomes Watchung Borough Board of Education Decision to Mark Eid ul-Fitr as a Day Off for Students

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Watchung Borough Board of Education Decision to Mark Eid ul-Fitr as a Day Off for Students    

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 01/27/2023) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed Watchung Borough Board of Education’s decision to mark April 10, 2024, as a professional development day for staff and a day off for students to mark Eid ul-Fitr.       

“The calendar that was revised by the curriculum committee recognizes April 10th as Eid ul-Fitr. What happens is that we’re going to have — the suggestion came forward to have it as a professional development day, a day which is closed for students,” a board member said at the Tuesday meeting.         

“The original calendar had October 11th the Tuesday as a professional development day and that day is moved to April 10th in next year’s calendar.”      

SEE: Watchung Borough BOE Meeting | Jan. 2023      

A neighboring town, Warren Township, also did the same in December 2022.      

SEE: Warren Township Board of Education Approves Calendar, Includes Eid and Diwali      

This decision comes after nearly two years of advocacy efforts by students and parents.       

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Outreach Coordinator Zaid Hussein said:      

“Including Eid in the 2023-2024 calendar is a victory for educational inclusion and for Muslim students who have long advocated for this necessary accommodation.      

“We are hopeful that Watchung Region High School will follow suit and give their Muslim students the opportunity to balance their academic obligations with religious duties.       

“While designating Eid as a professional development day for staff is a step in the right direction, we hope to see the Watchung Board of Education move in the direction of adopting Eid as a permanent calendar holiday instead in the future.”   

In a statement, Watchung Hills Regional High School student Noora Kuran said:      

“The win in Watchung and Warren is one small step for Watchung Hills and one giant leap for minorities nationwide.      

“I hope that what we’ve accomplished inspires others to do the same. It is beautiful to see our hard work for the last few years pay off.”      

Students and parents at Watchung Hills Regional High School are still entangled in a year and a half-long struggle to have Eid recognized as a holiday.       

SEE: Watchung Hills Regional High School BOE Meeting | Sept. 2022      

Many other school districts nationwide are also adding Eid holidays to their calendars.  

Washington, D.C., based CAIR offers a booklet, called “An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for Muslim students.         

[NOTE: There are two major “Eid” holidays for Muslims. Eid ul-Adha (EED-AL-ODDHA), commonly referred to as just “Eid,” is associated with the pilgrimage to Mecca, or Hajj, and commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God’s command. The holiday is celebrated with prayers, small gifts for children, distribution of meat to the needy, and social gatherings. During Eid ul-Fitr (EED-AL-FITTER) or “feast of fast breaking” holiday at the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan, Muslims offer public prayers, exchange social visits and seek to strengthen family and community bonds.]    

  

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 to Join Community Members at Swearing-In Ceremony of New Jersey’s Longest-Serving Muslim Mayor

CAIR-NJ to Join Community Members at Swearing-In Ceremony of New Jersey’s Longest-Serving Muslim Mayor   

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 01/05/2022) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) will join community members at the swearing-in ceremony of Mohamed Khairullah for his fifth term as mayor of Prospect Park on Saturday, Jan. 7. Councilmen Mohammed Hussain and Anand Shah will also be sworn in.   

Mayor Khairullah is said to be the longest-serving Muslim Mayor and elected official in New Jersey. Throughout his 17-year tenure, Mayor Khairullah paid frequent visits to refugee camps in Bangladesh to assist with essential supplies distributions and contributed to humanitarian aid relief in Syria.        

WHEN: Saturday, January 7, at 12 p.m.        

WHERE: Prospect Park School No. 1 at 94 Brown Avenue, Prospect Park, NJ 07508 (Enter gymnasium through North 9th Street entrance) 

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

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

“The increase in Muslims seeking office and winning elections is part of a national trend. With at least 40 Muslims serving in elected office, New Jersey is leading the way in local representation.     

“Muslims are a rapidly growing population in the United States and the election and re-election of American Muslims leads to much-needed political representation for our communities.”         

Mayor Khairullah will be sworn in by Assemblywoman Shama A. Haider (D), one of the first Muslims to serve in the New Jersey State Legislature. Assemblywoman Sadaf Jaffer (D), who is also one of the first Muslims to serve in the New Jersey State Legislature, will swear in Councilman Mohammed Hussain. Councilman Anand Shah will be sworn in by Mayor Sam Joshi of Edison Township. 

Photo left to right: Councilman Anand Shah, Mayor Mohamed Khairullah, Councilman Mohammed Hussain

 

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, smaksut@cair.com, 908-267-3119