CAIR-NJ Condemns Congressman Gottheimer for Defamatory, Anti-Muslim Statements

CAIR-NJ Condemns Congressman Gottheimer for Defamatory, Anti-Muslim Statements 

(NEWARK, NJ, 1/29/2024) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today condemned Rep. Josh Gottheimer’s (D-NJ) defamatory and anti-Muslim statements against the organization in a letter obtained by the New York Post.

SEE: NJ school district blasted for partnering with controversial CAIR group 

In the letter, the Congressman said that Teaneck Public Schools’ potential partnership with CAIR-NJ, the leading Muslim civil rights group in New Jersey, is “outrageous and unacceptable,” according to the New York Post.

The Congressman went on to say that CAIR-NJ should not be afforded a pulpit to “promote antisemitism and hatred as part of the Teaneck’s curriculum,” according to the New York Post.

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

“CAIR and CAIR-NJ have a strong track record of standing against all forms of bigotry, including antisemitism. The Congressman’s accusations are a distraction from the reality that between October 7 and December 31, 2023, we’ve received 157 reports of anti-Muslim bigotry. To contextualize that number, we’ve received 152 reports of anti-Muslim bigotry in all of 2022.

“This dramatic increase in reports is due, in part, to elected officials’ grossly imbalanced and disingenuous statements on Palestine – much like Rep. Gottheimer’s. The Congressman has shown no regard or concern for New Jersey Muslims who, since Israel began its war on Gaza on October 7, have seen a 336 percent increase in anti-Muslim bigotry. He has placed the Muslim community in New Jersey, and within his constituency especially, in direct harm’s way.”

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Civil Rights Attorney Ayah Zaki, Esq. said:

“We’ve been on high alert since October 7, representing Muslims in their workplaces as they experience retaliation and in their academic institutions as they are faced with disciplinary actions simply for supporting Palestinians’ internationally recognized right to freedom. 

“We’ve also partnered with local mosques and community centers across the state to hold Know Your Rights presentations several times a month because what we’re seeing now is very much reminiscent of what we’ve seen in the days and months immediately after 911: a rapid erosion of our civil rights.

“The Congressman’s defamatory attacks on our work and his unfounded accusations of antisemitism are a distraction at best. Our civil rights and legal advocacy work will continue.”

Since October 7, Congressman Gottheimer has made a number of statements and comments about Israel’s war on Gaza and the ensuing protests in New Jersey.

The Congressman accused students at Teaneck High School of antisemitism when they staged a walkout – with the permission and support of Superintendent Dr. Andre Spencer – against Israel’s war on Gaza. In another instance, the Congressman accused Muslim students at Rutgers University of “justifying the rape, murder, beheading, & kidnapping” of Americans, amplifying a long-ago debunked story about “beheaded babies” and playing into dangerous and defamatory anti-Muslim tropes. He also directly encouraged the university to silence these student protesters and violate their First Amendment rights.

The Congressman also used his authority and platform as an elected official to participate in the doxing and bullying of a Ramapo College professor, at a time when doxing and employment retaliation of pro-Palestine advocates is rapidly increasing.

Rep. Gottheimer allegedly made anti-Muslim remarks at a closed-door caucus meeting in mid-October 2023.

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

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, 908-668-5900 ext. 103

CAIR-NJ to Hold Press Conference Ahead of Imam Hassan Sharif’s Funeral Prayer

MEDIA ADVISORY  

CAIR-NJ, Imam Hassan Sharif’s Family, and Masjid Muhammad Leadership to Hold Press Conference Ahead of Imam Hassan Sharif’s Funeral Prayer  

(Newark, NJ, 01/05/2024) – On Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024, the Council on American-Islamic Relations of New Jersey (CAIR-NJ)the family of Imam Hassan Sharif, Masjid Muhammad leadership, and the Imam’s Council of Newarwill hold a press conference just ahead of the imam’s janazah (funeral).  

WHO: Imam Hassan Sharif’s family, Masjid Muhammad leadership, Imams Council of Newark 

WHERE: NIA Masjid & Community Center at 231 Roseville Ave, Newark, NJ 07107

WHEN: Saturday, January 6, 2024 at 9 a.m.     

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

Imam Hassan Sharif was fatally shot on January 3, 2024, just outside Masjid Muhammad as he prepared to lead Fajr (pre-dawn) prayers. He was taken to University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead in the afternoon.  

The shooter remains at large.  

SEE: Murder of NJ imam puts Muslim community on edge  

SEE: Imam Hassan Sharif murdered: Reward offered  

CAIR and its New Jersey chapter announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator who shot and killed Imam Hassan Sharif just outside of Masjid Muhammad in Newark, NJ. This reward is separate from the Essex Crime Stoppers’ $25,000 reward.  

SEE: CAIR, CAIR-NJ Announce $10K Reward for Information that Leads to Arrest and Conviction of Imam’s Shooter   

Alongside the Newark Muslim community, CAIR-NJ is praying for the Imam, his family and loved ones, and his congregation, and asks everyone to do the same.   

Irrespective of this specific incident, CAIR-NJ advises all mosques to keep their doors open but remain cautious especially given the recent spike in anti-Muslim bigotry.    

 

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, CAIR-NJ Announce $10K Reward for Information that Leads to Arrest and Conviction of Imam’s Shooter

CAIR, CAIR-NJ Announce $10K Reward for Information that Leads to Arrest and Conviction of Imam’s Shooter   

(NEWARK, NJ, 1/4/2024) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations and its New Jersey chapter today offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator who shot and killed Imam Hassan Sharif just outside of Masjid Muhammad in Newark, NJ.   

CAIR also called on state and federal law enforcement authorities in New Jersey to investigate the shooting incident thoroughly.   

SEE: Imam Is Fatally Shot Outside New Jersey Mosque  

SEE: Imam dies after being shot outside Newark mosque after morning prayers  

Imam Hassan Sharif was fatally shot on January 3, 2024 as he prepared to lead Fajr (pre-dawn) prayers. He was taken to University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead in the afternoon.   

“Due to the unprecedented spike in anti-Muslim bigotry and violence we have witnessed in recent weeks, local, state and national law enforcement authorities must thoroughly investigate the shooting of Imam Hassan Sharif and keep the Muslim community safe,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “We are saddened by the news of the Imam’s killing and extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. We are hopeful that our reward will result in information leading to an arrest in this case.”  

“Imam Hassan was the glue that held his community together and it is evident that he was deeply loved. We are shattered by the news and concerned for the New Jersey Muslim community’s safety and especially the Newark Muslim community,” said CAIR-NJ Communications Manager Dina Sayedahmed. “That more than 24 hours have elapsed and there is still no suspect or person of interest is particularly concerning. We cannot let crimes against our community and our leaders especially go unaccounted for.”   

CAIR also asked that anyone with information related to the shooting to call Crime Stoppers at 1-877-NWK-TIPS (1-877-695-8477) and/or submit online: newarkpublicsafety.org. The $10,000 reward is separate from the $25,000 reward that Essex Crime Stoppers Program is offering.  

SEE: Reward of up to $25,000 offered in shooting death of beloved Newark imam 

Sayedahmed added that, irrespective of this specific incident, CAIR-NJ advises all mosques to keep their doors open but remain cautious especially given the recent spike in anti-Muslim bigotry.  

Alongside the Newark Muslim community, CAIR-NJ is praying for the Imam, his family and loved ones, and his congregation, and asks everyone to do the same.  

 

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

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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 Manager Ismail Allison, 202-770-6280, iallison@cair.com; CAIR-NJ Communications Manager Dina Sayedahmed, dsayedahmed@cair.com, 908-668-5900 ext. 103, 551-221-5592 

CAIR-NJ to Join Newark Interfaith Alliance in Demanding Imam’s Shooter Turn Themselves In

MEDIA ADVISORY      

CAIR-NJ to Join Newark Interfaith Alliance in Demanding Imam’s Shooter Turn Themselves In      

(NEWARK, NJ, 1/3/2024) – Later today, the New jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) will join the Newark Interfaith Alliance in an assembly demanding that Imam Hassan Sharif’s shooter turn themselves in. 

CAIR-NJ: Imam Shot and Killed Outside Mosque in Newark  

WHERE: Masjid Muhammad at 255 South Orange Avenue, Newark, NJ 07103 

WHEN: Wednesday, January 3, 2024 at 6 p.m.    

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

Imam Hassan Sharif was fatally shot on January 3, 2024, just outside Masjid Muhammad as he prepared to lead Fajr (pre-dawn) prayers. He was taken to University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead in the afternoon.   

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

To Allah we belong and to Him we return.     

Imam Hassan was a beacon of leadership and excellence. We are devastated at the news of his killing. We are praying for the Imam, his family and loved ones, and his congregation, and we ask everyone to do the same.    

While the perpetrator’s motive remains unknown and irrespective of this specific incident, we advise all mosques to keep their doors open but remain cautious especially given the recent spike in anti-Muslim bigotry.  

 

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

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