CAIR-NJ Report Shows Highest Number of Bias Complaints, 103 Percent Increase from Previous Year

CAIR-NJ Report Shows Highest Number of Bias Complaints, 103 Percent Increase from Previous Year

(NEWARK, NJ, 04/30/2024) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, released its 2024 report, which reveals the highest number of bias complaints it has ever received in a calendar year. Altogether, the data shows a 103 percent increase in incident reports from the year prior, 2022.

SEE: Resilience Amidst Adversity: 2024 Annual Impact & Data Report

Titled “Resilience Amid Adversity,” CAIR-NJ’s annual report documented 309 complaints spanning different areas over the course of 2023. More than half of these incidents were reported to CAIR-NJ in October through December. Though the number of reports was already outpacing the prior year’s — 2022 — and on track to surpass it, the last three months of 2023 paved the way for a 100% increase year-to-year.

The report breaks down the complaints CAIR-NJ received into different categories such as employment discrimination, hate crimes and incidents, and school bullying. The data shows that Muslim women may be more likely to experience anti-Muslim bigotry in the workplace and in public. On the other hand, Muslim men are more likely to be approached by the FBI and made up all of CAIR-NJ’s watchlist complaints. A plurality of all incidents occurred at educational institutions.

The highest number of complaints came out of Bergen County, where several freedom of speech violations took place, agent provocateurs are prevalent at demonstrations and elected officials seem to fan the fires of anti-Muslim hate more.

Despite the staggering numbers before us, Muslims remain undeterred and unafraid,” CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said. “We see Muslim students and employees exercising their right to free speech even more unabashedly now, whether that’s in their workplace, at school, or on their college campuses. Muslims will continue to travel even if they are subject to extra security screenings. Muslim women will continue to wear their hijabs even if they are harassed for it.

Even when our community severely underreports anti-Muslim hate crimes and incidents, the data still shows a surge in anti-Muslim bigotry and hate surpassing the wave we saw with President Trump’s Muslim Ban,” CAIR-NJ Operations Manager Dyaa Terpstra, the primary author of the report, said. “This is largely due to public and elected officials’ imbalanced, disingenuous, and biased narratives about Israel’s war on Gaza. The data shows a worrying erosion of Americans’ civil rights in New Jersey, with children being bullied and experiencing hatred in their schools and adults being fired from their jobs, being subject to frivolous investigations at work and school, and being removed from their academic placements simply for speaking out against Israel’s genocidal war on Palestine.

Nationally, CAIR observed an unprecedented number of complaints in its 30-year history, with half of them from October through December. Altogether, this showed a 56 percent jump from the prior year.

SEE: 2024 Civil Rights Report: Fatal: The Resurgence of Anti-Muslim Hate 

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 Operations Manager Dyaa Terpstra, 908-760-0129, dterpstra@cair.com

CAIR-NJ, ADC File Title VI Complaint Against Rutgers U. Citing Hostile Anti-Palestinian Environment

CAIR-NJ, ADC File Title VI Complaint Against Rutgers U. Citing Hostile Anti-Palestinian Environment

(NEWARK, NJ, 04/23/2024) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) today filed a Title VI complaint against Rutgers University for ongoing, patterned anti-Palestinian bigotry at the Newark law school and New Brunswick undergraduate campuses, since October 2023.

SEE: Title VI Complaint Against Rutgers University Concerning Anti-Palestinian Discrimination

The complaint also alleges a lack of appropriate urgency from Rutgers University administrators concerning Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim students’ physical safety and overall wellbeing on university campuses.

“Rutgers has had ample notice of the ongoing pattern and practice of direct and indirect anti-Palestinian discrimination from the university and hostile on campus environment,” the complaint reads. “Nonetheless, Rutgers has failed to respond or take any meaningful steps to address it.”

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

“That college campuses across the country have become an increasingly hostile environment to Muslim and Palestinian students and their allies — especially in the wake of Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza — is no secret.

“University administrations have effectively enabled this climate of hostility and unsafe environment when they repeatedly refused to act and respond with appropriate urgency to Muslim and Palestinian students’ concerns.

“We call on the Department of Education to thoroughly investigate students’ claims and to uphold and protect their civil rights.”

In a statement, ADC Staff Attorney Chris Godshall-Bennett said:

“College campuses should be a place where students feel free to be themselves and express their identities. Their power and voice should be protected and uplifted, and university administrators have a duty to ensure that the campus environment fosters that strength.

“Instead, Rutgers University has allowed a patently hostile and unsafe climate to relegate its Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim students to a second-class status, denying them their right to an education free of harassment and discrimination. We expect the Department of Education to take these claims seriously and fully investigate this pattern and practice of discrimination.”

CAIR’s vision is to be a leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding.

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

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CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Communications Manager, Dina Sayedahmed, 551-221-5592

 

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Federal Hate Crime Charges Against Individual Who Vandalized Rutgers Muslim Chaplaincy House

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Federal Hate Crime Charges Against Individual Who Vandalized Rutgers Muslim Chaplaincy House  

(NEWARK, NJ, 4/22/2024) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations today welcomed federal hate crime charges against the individual who allegedly vandalized the Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University (CILRU).

SEE: Rutgers University Crime Alert: Muslim Chaplaincy House

The alleged perpetrator, 24-year-old Jacob Beacher, is not affiliated with Rutgers University, according to communication from Rutgers police.

The incident comes amid a rising tide of anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian bigotry nationwide.

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

Muslim, Palestinian, and allied students across college campuses are facing an upsurge in bigoted attacks, especially as they advocate for Palestinian liberation.

“The vandalization of the Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University (CILRU), which had a Palestinian flag displayed, is an example of such bigoted violence.

The CILRU has been a leading voice in advocating for Muslim students on campus and has expressed unequivocal support for Palestine actions and advocacy at Rutgers University.

University administrators must act with urgency to protect Muslim, Palestinian, and allied students, and until they do so, they are putting these students in direct harm’s way.

In a statement, the Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University said:

We are humbled by the amazing and generous outpouring from the Rutgers community and the community at large.

These acts of support from the outright donations, donations in kind to replace stolen and damaged items, flowers, balloons, calls and emails have been overwhelming and heartening. We are thankful and grateful.

SEE: CILRU Press Release 04/22/2024

CAIR’s vision is to be a leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding.

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

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CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Communications Manager, Dina Sayedahmed, 551-221-5592

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Rutgers U. Student Vote in Favor of Israel Divestment

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Rutgers U. Student Vote in Favor of Israel Divestment

(NEWARK, NJ, 4/17/2024) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed an overwhelming “yes” vote by Rutgers University students at the New Brunswick campus in favor of an Israel divestment referendum.

Rutgers students voted to call on the university administration to withdraw investments in Israel and to cancel the school’s partnership with Tel Aviv University.

Some 80 percent of students voted to divest the university’s endowment fund “from companies that profit from, engage in, or contribute to the government of Israel’s human rights violations.”

More than 6,000 students agreed that the university should end its relations with Tel Aviv University.

SEE: Rutgers students at New Brunswick campus vote ‘yes’ on Israel divestment referendum 

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

“We welcome this important vote as a strong indication of where Rutgers University students stand. 

“Israel is currently executing a campaign of genocide, ethnic cleansing and forced starvation targeting the Palestinian people and we cannot continue to be business as usual.”

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 Condemns Vandalism Targeting Rutgers Muslim Chaplaincy House, Welcomes Hate Crime Probe

The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today condemned vandalism targeting the Muslim Chaplaincy house at Rutgers University (A.K.A. CILRU, Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University).

[NOTE: The news of this vandalism comes as a San Francisco mosque has been vandalized more than once during Ramadan.]

CAIR-NJ also welcomed the attorney general’s participation in a hate crime investigation being led by local New Brunswick police.

SEE: Rutgers Islamic center burglarized as Ramadan ends

SEE VIDEO OF VANDALISM.

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

“CILRU is the heart of Muslim life on the Rutgers New Brunswick campus. Students gather at the center to enjoy community, worship together, and support each other. Its desecration, especially on the Islamic holiday of Eid, is deeply distressing. 

“Our CAIR-New Jersey office continues to see an unprecedented uptick in reports alleging anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bias incidents and discrimination. 

“We welcome the investigation by New Brunswick police and the support of the Attorney general’s office. This belligerent incident of hate must be prosecuted as such.

“CAIR-New Jersey calls on civic and political leaders and interfaith allies to show their solidarity with the CILRU community by sending letters to their 122 College Avenue New Brunswick, NJ 08901 address. 

“We also call on Rutgers University to heed the concerns of Muslim students who have long expressed concern of the rise anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian hate.

Maksut urged houses of worship to utilize CAIR’s Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety guide, which contains security advice applicable to institutions of all faiths.

He noted that CAIR’s new civil rights report released earlier this month revealed the highest number of bias complaints ever received in its 30-year history.

SEE: New CAIR Civil Rights Report Reveals Highest Number of Complaints in Group’s 30-Year History

In statement, CILRU Chairwomen Atiyah Aftab said:

“On the auspicious occasion of Eid, our hearts are heavy as we report an act of vandalism at the Muslim Chaplaincy house at Rutgers University. 

“Today, we witnessed art pieces with Quranic verses, shattered windows, vandalized TVs, broken printers, smashed artwork and the destruction of our Palestinian flag.

“This reprehensible act, occurring on our sacred day, is undoubtedly fueled by Islamophobia is clearly a hate crime targeting our Muslim population at Rutgers.

We will continue to say what we are supposed to on Eid. Allahu Akbar, God is Greater. God is Greater than acts of hate and we will continue to carry on.

“Our building can be smashed, but our wills cannot. Allahu Akbar wa lillahil Hamd.”

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 Executive Director Selaedin Maksut, smaksut@cair.com, 908-267-3119