CAIR-NJ Acknowledges Gov. Murphy’s Statement on Gaza, Calls on Administration to Address Israeli Genocide in Gaza

CAIR-NJ Acknowledges Gov. Murphy’s Statement on Gaza, Calls on Administration to Address Israeli Genocide in Gaza

(NEWARK, NJ, 03/27/2024) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today acknowledged Gov. Phil Murphy’s support for a ceasefire in Gaza but said he must also address the Israeli genocide in Palestine.

SEE: Statement from Governor Murphy on the Ongoing Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

In his statement, Gov. Murphy says, “In that spirit, today, I am adding my voice in support of the Biden Administration’s efforts to secure an immediate and sustained ceasefire by all parties that includes the release of the remaining hostages being held by Hamas. Such an agreement will allow desperately needed humanitarian aid – food, water, medical supplies, and more – to flow into Gaza, saving potentially thousands of lives.”

The Governor’s statement comes in the wake of several Muslim and Palestinian groups’ calls for a boycott of the administration’s anticipated Ramadan iftar. 

SEE: Muslims urge Ramadan boycott of Murphy, NJ public officials over Gaza war

While CAIR-NJ appreciated the governor’s efforts in successfully bringing home some Palestinian Americans in Gaza, the civil rights organization underscored that his support for a ceasefire comes six months into Israel’s war on the already besieged Gaza Strip. To date, Israel has killed over 32,000 Palestinians. New Jersey’s Palestinian community, specifically, estimates it has had nearly 3,000 family members killed.

The Governor also does not acknowledge Israel’s accountability for what international bodies — including a U.S. court — have called plausible charges of genocide.

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

“Governor Murphy’s support for a ceasefire in Gaza comes in response to Muslim and Palestinian groups’ demands. While we welcome any call for a ceasefire in Gaza that will save thousands of people, the Governor’s statement is nearly six months and several thousand Palestinian bodies late.

“The Governor’s words also deflect from the root cause of violence in Gaza and continue to play a role in the anti-Muslim bigotry we see by shifting blame. To call Israel’s war on Gaza a ‘humanitarian crisis’ is to erase history. This is not a natural disaster; it is a genocide with a government to hold accountable.

“CAIR-New Jersey will withdraw ourselves from his administration’s celebratory events, such as his anticipated annual Ramadan iftar and/or Eid celebration until the Governor addresses the root cause of violence in Gaza — that is, Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. Over 40 of the most prominent New Jersey mosques and Muslim organizations across the state have also agreed to do the same.  

“Our Islamic faith teaches us to be firm in upholding justice. To welcome empty gestures of support for our community is to contradict the very principles of our faith. While it is important and necessary to call for a ceasefire, it is no longer enough. Gov. Murphy must do better to fight for justice for his American Muslim and Palestinian constituencies.”

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, 551-221-5592

CAIR-NJ Calls on NJ Senate to Oppose Bills Designed to Curtail Free Speech

CAIR-NJ Calls on State Senate to Oppose Bills Designed to Curtail Free Speech

(Newark, NJ, 03/18/2024) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today called on the New Jersey Senate to oppose Senate Bill 1292 and Senate Bill 2937, both of which are designed to redefine antisemitism using the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition.

In an open letter addressed to the New Jersey Senate, CAIR-NJ wrote, “While we appreciate and support efforts to combat hate and discrimination, these bills carry consequences that would suppress legitimate advocacy and free speech.”

SEE: Oppose Bill S1292 and S2937 to Protect Free Speech 

Adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism would conflate antisemitism with anti-Zionism, the letter states, and stifles legitimate discourse. The letter goes on to say that such a definition “would unfairly silence Palestinian advocacy and empowerment” and “would tarnish New Jersey’s reputation in support of free speech and diversity.”

SEE: International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance muzzles critics of Israel

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

The Muslim community well understands the tangible, harmful effects of discrimination and bigotry and the record will show that we have long stood against all forms of bigotry here in New Jersey. 

In adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism, the New Jersey senate will put the Muslim and Palestinian communities here in New Jersey in direct harm’s way, at a time when anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian bigotry are on a steep rise. These bills — S1292 and S2937 — protect and prioritize the interests of a foreign entity over the First Amendment rights of Americans and we cannot stand for that.

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

“As Americans, we cherish our First Amendment rights. 

“Bills S1292 and S2937 risk undermining free speech by discouraging open dialogue. We can combat antisemitism without stifling dissenting voices against Israel, and the New Jersey Senate should reject these bills because they violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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, 551-221-5592

CAIR-NJ Releases Guide for Mosques Highlighting Right to Only Welcome Public Officials Who Support Gaza Ceasefire

CAIR-NJ Releases Guide for Mosques Highlighting Right to Only Welcome Public Officials Who Support Gaza Ceasefire 

(Newark, NJ, 03/11/2024) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today released a civic guide for New Jersey mosques that highlights their right to only welcome public officials who support a Gaza ceasefire to mosques during Ramadan to address congregants.

This comes in light of Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza and public officials’ refusal to support constituents’ calls for a ceasefire in Palestine.

SEE: Harnessing Our Collective Power: A Guide to Civic Engagement in our Mosques

Ramadan is one of the holiest times of the Islamic calendar. Historically, elected officials have used the time to engage with their Muslim constituents and solicit their support at events such as community iftars and nightly prayers.

SEE: Why Ramadan will be different this year for the NJ chapter of CAIR

With the war on Gaza now in its fifth month, and with Israel continually denying Palestinians in Gaza adequate access to basic necessities such as food, water, and medical supplies, American Muslims in New Jersey are conveying their deep dismay in their representatives.

Of twelve, only three New Jersey congressmembers have publicly called for a ceasefire in Palestine. Palestinian Muslims in New Jersey have collectively had more than 1,000 family members killed by Israel since October.

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

“This year as Israel’s war on Gaza rages the Muslim community here in New Jersey is struggling to shake hands and break bread with the same officials who actively endorse Israel’s forcible displacement, mass starvation, and genocide of our sisters and brothers in Palestine.

“Muslims in New Jersey are harnessing their collective power this Ramadan. They are making their position and demands clear. Our houses of worship and dinner tables are sacred spaces. We will continuously elevate who gets to enjoy these spaces with us and our community.  

“A ceasefire in Palestine is the bare minimum. New Jersey public officials across the state must not only push for a ceasefire, but also re-evaluate the state’s commitment to Israel and uphold their sworn duty towards justice.”

Last week, CAIR’s national headquarters released its 2024 Ramadan toolkit, a comprehensive guide and resource for supporting the Muslim community during the month-long daybreak to sunset fast.

The toolkit includes template letters for workplace and student accommodations during Ramadan and advocacy resources such as letters and resolutions urging elected officials to recognize Eid and promote a Gaza ceasefire at state and local levels.

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, 551-221-5592

CAIR-NJ, AMP-NJ Condemn Planned Sale of Occupied Palestinian Land at Teaneck Synagogue, Call for Federal Investigation    

CAIR-NJ, AMP-NJ Condemn Planned Sale of Occupied Palestinian Land at Teaneck Synagogue, Call for Federal Investigation

(NEWARK, NJ, 3/4/2024) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, along with the New Jersey chapter of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP-NJ) today condemned a planned real estate event to allegedly sell illegally-occupied Palestinian land at a Teaneck synagogue. The groups also called for a federal probe into the planned event to prevent what may constitute illegal activity from occurring.

The event, reportedly organized by “My Home in Israel,” a group based in Occupied Palestine, is set to occur on March 10 at a local synagogue.

Peaceful demonstrations organized by local organizing and interfaith groups are expected to occur to express opposition to the event. CAIR-NJ encourages any New Jersey residents who participate in such peaceful demonstrations to obey all laws and follow the directions of law enforcement.

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

“Houses of worship should be sacred spaces, and it is deeply concerning to see anyone use a house of worship to allegedly flout international law by selling off stolen land.

“Numerous resolutions, including UN Security Council resolutions in 1979, 1980, and 2016, and the prevailing international opinion hold that Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights are a violation of international law. In fact, just days ago, the White House said that new Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine are illegal and ‘inconsistent’ with international law.  

“Teaneck’s Muslim and Jewish communities have both expressed concern with the sale taking place in their township. We call on federal authorities to act immediately and launch an investigation into this planned event.

In a statement, AMP-NJ Chairperson Wassim Kanaan said:

“We have been mobilizing our communities en masse to protest against a foreign group’s alleged illegal looting and selling of Palestinian territory. 

“We’ve also written to and called the New Jersey Attorney General’s office.

“We are watching Israel commit genocide in Gaza and pillage Palestinians homes in the West Bank and Jerusalem. These are both stark violations of international law. Mayor Mike Pagan must condemn these horrors and federal investigators must act immediately to protect Teaneck from potentially taking part in Israel’s reported violations of international law.”

More than 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza, mostly women and children, have been killed by Israel. An additional 420 Palestinians, including 110 children, in the West Bank have been killed by Israel since October 7, 2023.

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

 

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 Welcomes Mayor Ras J. Baraka’s Call for an Immediate Ceasefire in Palestine, Calls on NJ Lawmakers to Reevaluate Relationship with Israeli Govt       

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Mayor Ras Baraka’s Call for an Immediate Ceasefire in Palestine, Calls on NJ Lawmakers to Reevaluate Relationship with Israeli Govt      

(Newark, NJ, 03/01/2024) — 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 Mayor Ras Baraka (D-NJ) statement calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

In a statement, Mayor Baraka wrote:

“The notion that all Palestinians are terrorists is not only wrong, it’s racist. To justify these deaths by saying everyone in Gaza supports Hamas is equally wrong and disturbing. We urge President Biden to work tirelessly on getting humanitarian aid, food, and water to the people in Gaza. And in my estimation, this work requires an immediate ceasefire.” 

SEE:  Mayor Ras J. Baraka’s Statement on Ceasefire 

The mayor’s statement comes just one week after CAIR-NJ, in collaboration with the Newark Coalition for Palestine, held a rally on the steps of Newark City Hall calling on council members and the mayor to pass a ceasefire in Palestine resolution.

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Advocacy and Community Relations Coordinator Mousa Naji  said: 

“New Jersey has the highest percentage of Muslims across the country, and Newark is home to a sizable Muslim population.

“With his call for a ceasefire in Palestine, Mayor Ras Baraka has shown that he listens to his constituents and understands their grief and pain. He has shown that he sees the sharp rise in anti-Muslim bigotry following Israel’s invasion of the besieged Gaza Strip and has responded accordingly.

“The mayor’s statement comes at an especially pivotal time: the openly genocidal Israeli government has made clear that it will continue to ravage through Gaza and collectively punish Palestinians in the West Bank even as Ramadan — one of the holiest Islamic months — approaches. This is unacceptable, and every mayor of every New Jersey city and township should unequivocally condemn Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza and destruction of civilian hospitals, schools, homes, and all infrastructure.

“A call for a ceasefire is the first step, but a reevaluation of New Jersey’s ties to Israel must be a top priority for all lawmakers in New Jersey.”

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