CAIR-NJ Encourages Muslim Community to Vote Early for Primary Election

CAIR-NJ Encourages Muslim Community to Vote Early for Primary Election

(NEWARK, NJ, 5/31/2024) The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) is urging Muslims across the state to vote in the Primary Election on or before June 4, 2024.

Registered voters have the option to participate in the election process today and throughout the weekend as well as on Election Day on Tuesday.

In-person early voting: May 29 – June 2
Primary Election Day: June 4
Election Day Poll Hours: 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.

SEE: A list of poll locations near you

With early voting already underway, New Jersey voters may cast their ballots for several key seats at the federal, state and local levels. In addition to the presidential election, the US Senate, US House of Representatives, State Senate as well as local races in some cities and counties are on the ballot.

“It is crucial for members of our Muslim community to practice their civic duty in this Primary Election as we witness the abhorrent and deadly violence unfolding in Gaza and across Palestine,” CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said. “Voting is just one tool we can use to mark our presence in the political arena.”

New Jersey operates a closed primary system, meaning voters must be affiliated with a political party to be eligible to participate in that party’s primary election. People who are not affiliated with either of the two major parties may still vote in down ballot nonpartisan races such as local boards of education.

“Our voices matter now more than ever as hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. have skyrocketed in recent months,” said CAIR-NJ Senior Communications Associate Aya Elamroussi. “By making our votes count in this election, we can choose candidates whose policies advance human rights here in the Garden State and abroad.”

CAIR-NJ is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that does not participate in political candidate endorsements. However, the chapter is urging eligible voters to hit the polls to make their voices heard through choosing a candidate that best aligns with their values and views.

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 Senior Communications Associate Aya Elamroussi, 908-668-5900 ext. 103, aelamroussi@cair.com

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Safe Passage of NJ Medical Professionals, Urges the Biden Administration to end Gaza Siege  

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Safe Passage of NJ Medical Professionals, Urges the Biden Administration to end Gaza Siege

(NEWARK, NJ, 5/22/2024) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed the safe passage of American doctors, including two medical professionals from New Jersey who were volunteering at the European Hospital in Gaza.

The two New Jersey medical professionals, Dr. Adam Hamawy and Dr. Ghada Abukwaik, along with other American doctors, were unable to return home due to border closures enforced by Israeli authorities. CAIR-NJ welcomes the safe passage and return of these sixteen NJ medical professionals who have been providing critical medical aid in Gaza in partnership with the World Health Organization. CAIR-NJ thanks the officials who helped facilitate the doctors’ safe exit of Gaza.

IMPORTANT: CAIR-NJ urges Congress to demand safe passage for a replacement team. Congress must help facilitate a seamless transition of medical professionals to continue offering critical medical aid in Gaza to children and civilians.

CAIR-NJ urges the Biden Administration to call for an end to Israel’s siege of Gaza, which has resulted in almost 35,000 dead and countless children and civilians injured.

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

“We welcome the safe passage of New Jersey medical professionals in Gaza who were trapped by border closures enforced by Israeli authorities. Dr. Adam Hamawy and Dr. Ghada Abukwaik left their homes to travel to Gaza and provide critical medical aid to displaced and injured Palestinians. While we rejoice at the news of their safe return from Gaza, it is disheartening that there was so much uncertainty, and it took this long.”

“Israel’s intentional blocking of the replacement of medical professionals is exacerbating the humanitarian crisis. This is unacceptable. There must be a seamless transition of future medical missions to sustain the critical humanitarian work.”

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

CAIR-NJ Calls on Princeton University to Meet with Students, Commends Student Hunger Strikers  

CAIR-NJ Calls on Princeton University to Meet with Students, Commends Student Hunger Strikers

(NEWARK,NJ, 5/16/2024) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today called on Princeton University administration to meet with students to discuss their demands.

SEE: Princeton Students Response to President Eisgruber

CAIR-NJ also condemns Princeton University administration’s treatment of the peaceful encampments and student protests as threatening and dangerous. The University administration’s vilification of students who take part in these protests is harmful and endangers students. CAIR-NJ urges Princeton University administration to meet student demands of divestment, statements of support for a ceasefire, and amnesty for student protesters.

CAIR-NJ also commends student hunger strikers who ended their strike yesterday, after 12 days of going without food to protest Princeton University’s complicity in what they view as supporting a country committing genocide. Their dedication to their cause has impacted their health, resulting in rapid weight loss and exhaustion, amongst others.

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

“We call on the Princeton University administration to reconsider their treatment of the peaceful protests and meet with students. The University must do better to protect their students as they exercise their right to protest and rally for Palestine.”

“Students at Princeton University have shown their resilience through their 12-day long hunger strike, which has resulted in extreme weight loss and other significant implications to their health. Their determination to exercise their rights and stand up for justice is commendable.”

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

CAIR-NJ Condemns Jackson Township Mayor’s Hostile Treatment of Planned Pro-Palestinian Peaceful Protest

CAIR-NJ Condemns Jackson Township Mayor’s Hostile Treatment of Planned Pro-Palestinian Peaceful Protest

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 Mayor of Jackson Township Michael Reina’s hostile reaction to a planned pro-Palestinian peaceful protest.

Mayor Reina’s statement on the protest is as follows:

“We have several agencies looking into the origin of this online message. I can assure everyone that we did not authorize any parade or gathering, nor was a permit issued. At this time, we are not aware who the creator(s) are, but that will not stop us from being vigilant.”

Furthermore, a Jackson Township counter terrorism officer visited a resident’s home on May 14 to tell them that they will need a permit for the rally scheduled for Sunday, May 19.

CAIR-NJ condemns Jackson Township and its mayor’s hostile treatment towards individuals wanting to exercise their first amendment rights. Their treatment of protestors as threatening and dangerous is harmful and puts them at risk. By telling the community to remain vigilant in the face of peaceful assembly creates the harmful rhetoric that pro-Palestinian protestors are dangerous, violent and even implicitly criminal. The mayor calling upon agencies and sending a police officer, specifically one designated for counter-terrorism to the home of a presumed organizer is superfluous.

CAIR-NJ urges Jackson Township to aid in providing a safe space for individuals wanting to exercise their right to peacefully protest for any reason.

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

“We condemn Jackson Township’s hostile stance toward free speech and assembly. The mayor’s hostile reaction to a peaceful pro-Palestine rally by alerting “several agencies” and dispatching the Counter-Terrorism officer demonstrates a potential anti-Muslim or anti-Palestinian bias.”

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

CAIR-NJ Condemns South Brunswick Board of Education President’s Comments About Student Walkout at a Graduation Ceremony 

CAIR-NJ Condemns South Brunswick Board of Education President’s Comments About Student Walkout at a Graduation Ceremony 

(NEWARK, NJ, 5/15/2024) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today condemned South Brunswick Board of Education President Lisa Grieco Rodgers’ claim that students walking out in support of Palestine at a college graduation ceremony was antisemitic and that their diplomas should be revoked.  

SEE: Lisa Grieco Rodgers Social Media Comment 

SEE: Lisa Grieco Rodgers Social Media Comment Archived 

CAIR-NJ condemns these comments made by the School Board President as they put students who may exercise their right to protest in harm’s way. South Brunswick is home to one of New Jersey’s largest mosques and a vibrant Muslim community. Leaders in educational spaces have a responsibility to create a safe space for students who want to speak up for what they believe in. School Board Presidents have a legal responsibility for the well-being of children and alone can speak on behalf of the Board and school district. Grieco Rodgers’ public comments may create a hostile environment for students in the South Brunswick school district who want to use their voice. 

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

The comments made by Lisa Grieco Rodgers against the student walkout in support of Palestine at Duke University harms student protestors who simply want to exercise their right to free speech. These comments leave students vulnerable to retaliation from their universities or employers, painting them as antisemitic when in fact, students did not walk out simply because Jerry Seinfeld is Jewish.” 

“Those in positions of power, especially in educational spaces, must ensure that their Muslim and Palestinian students do not feel unsafe when speaking up for what they believe in. Similarly, any student of any faith or background who speaks up for Palestine should feel safe to do so.” 

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, 908-668-5900 ext. 101, 908-267-3119 

CAIR-NJ Urges Intervention of Biden Administration and New Jersey Members of Congress to Ensure the Safe Return of NJ Medical Professionals Stranded in Gaza 

CAIR-NJ Urges Intervention of Biden Administration and New Jersey Members of Congress to Ensure the Safe Return of NJ Medical Professionals Stranded in Gaza

 

(NEWARK, NJ, 5/15/2024) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today urged Biden Administration and New Jersey Members of Congress to intervene on behalf of New Jersey’s medical professionals stranded at the European Hospital in Gaza. 

Video: CAIR Calls on Biden to Secure Evacuation of U.S. Doctors Trapped in Rafah, End Assault on Rafah

Approximately 20 American medical professionals, including Dr. Ghada Abukwaik, a New Jersey pharmacist, and Dr. Adam Hamawy from New Jersey, a distinguished U.S. Army veteran, who have been providing critical medical aid in Gaza in partnership with the World Health Organization. They are unable to return home due to border closures enforced by Israeli authorities.

CAIR-NJ urges for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to facilitate their safe evacuation. It is imperative that the U.S. government reaffirms its commitment to protecting its citizens abroad, particularly those serving humanitarian missions.

CAIR-NJ also urges the importance of maintaining uninterrupted medical assistance to the people of Rafah. The enforced border closures have not only hindered the return of medical professionals but have also obstructed the entry of replacement doctors waiting at the border. The health and well-being of the people in Rafah cannot be any further compromised.

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

“There is an urgent need for the evacuation of NJ medical professionals from the European Hospital in Gaza. We urge the Biden administration and New Jersey members of Congress to intervene on behalf of these humanitarian workers to ensure their safe passage back home – including our New Jersey citizens.” 

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, 908-668-5900 ext. 101, 908-267-3119

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Teaneck Arrest of Man Who Allegedly Threatened Pro-Palestinian Protester with a Knife

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Teaneck Arrest of Man Who Allegedly Threatened Pro-Palestinian Protester with a Knife

(NEWARK, NJ, 5/08/2024) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed the arrest of a man who allegedly hurled racially charged epitaphs and brandished a knife at a woman who was participating in a motor vehicle procession in support of Palestine on Teaneck Road.

Ebrahim Yehounatan, 71, who was arrested by police on Friday, May 3, has been charged with second-degree bias intimidation for his unprovoked threats and harassment. He also faces charges of possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes and harassment.

SEE: NY man charged for incident Teaneck NJ pro-Palestine protest (northjersey.com)

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

“We welcome and are relieved by the arrest of the alleged perpetrator for his disturbing act of harassment and intimidation towards an individual in Teaneck, New Jersey. 

“Threats of violence should never be tolerated. We must always take firm action against those who attempt to harm others. 

“Peaceful protestors must be protected by local law enforcement. More needs to be done to keep them safe from instigators. 

“We are noticing a trend–anti-Palestinian racists instigating and causing direct harm to pro-Palestinian protests. Manipulative and hateful rhetoric coming from our elected officials twisting the narrative has led to this uptick in violent threats and attacks. This is wildly unacceptable. Elected officials in New Jersey must be more mindful. Their demonization of protests has caused negative reverberations, putting peaceful people in direct harm’s way – people who want nothing but an end to genocide.” 

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, 908-668-5900 ext. 101, 908-267-3119

CAIR-NJ Condemns Eastern Camden County Regional School District Decision to Cancel Student Walkout for Palestine

CAIR-NJ Condemns Eastern Camden County Regional School District Decision to Cancel Student Walkout for Palestine     

(Newark, NJ, 05/07/2024) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization condemned Eastern Regional High School administration’s decision to cancel a student walkout that was pre-approved for April 26th to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

SEE: Controversial “Free Palestine” walkout canceled at Eastern Regional High School in Voorhees)

On April 24th, Eastern Regional High School administration sent out an email to students and parents to notify them that the pre-approved student walkout had been cancelled. Student organizers are expected to work together to have a joint walkout on May 20th despite the school discriminately allowing one student group to have a walkout back on October 13th and cancelling the other group’s walkout last month.

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksutsaid: 

“The school is clearly treating the Muslim and Palestinian students unfairly because of their stance on Palestine. It is a breach of the very principles of free speech and the right to assemble—principles that were respected for students who organized a pro-Israel walkout in October. Equality is a non-negotiable and bare minimum in our educational institutions.” 

“Our educational institutions should encourage critical thinking, civic engagement, and the respectful exchange of ideas. Cancelling a peaceful walkout sends a message that dissenting voices are not welcome—a message that contradicts the very essence of democratic values.”

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

“We call upon the superintendent of the Eastern Regional School District to restore the walkout as it was originally intended without delay. It is imperative to honor the tenets of free speech, inclusivity, and open dialogue that form the cornerstone of our educational community. We advocate for the right of students to peacefully express their views, a fundamental aspect of learning and growth.” 

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, 908-668-5900 ext. 101, 908-267-3119

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Successful Student Negotiations with Rutgers University Administration, Urges University to Work Towards Divestment  

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Successful Student Negotiations with Rutgers University Administration, Urges University to Work Towards Divestment

(NEWARK, NJ, 5/07/2024) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed Rutgers University’s students reaching an agreement with the Rutgers administration after a four-day long encampment.

Rutgers students negotiated with the university administration who committed to the last eight of the ten demands brought forward.

The demands were as follows

“1. Divest from any firm or corporation materially participating in, benefitting from, or otherwise supporting the state of Israel’s settler colonialism, apartheid, and genocide of Palestine and the Palestinian people, in accordance with the principles for divestment listed in university policy 40.2.14. 

2. Terminate its partnership with Tel Aviv University including in the HELIX Innovation Hub. 

3. Accept at least 10 displaced Gazan students to study at Rutgers University on scholarship. 

4. Provide resources for Palestinian and Arab students in the form of an Arab Cultural Center on each Rutgers campus. 

5. Establish a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a long-term educational and collaboration partnership with Birzeit University, Ramallah, Palestine — in accordance with precedent set by William Paterson University. 

6. Name “Palestine” and “Palestinians” in all future communications related to Israeli aggressions in Palestine (as opposed to “Middle East” “Gaza region” etc.), and release a statement from the Office of the President acknowledging the ongoing genocide against Palestinians, its impact on the Palestinian community at our university, and advocating for a ceasefire. 

7. Hire senior administrators with cultural competency and knowledge about Arabs, Palestinians, Muslims, anti-Palestinian racism, and Islamophobia.  

8. Hire additional professors specializing in Palestine studies and Middle East studies, institute a center for Palestine studies, and establish a path to departmentalization for Middle East studies. 

9. Display the flags of occupied peoples – including but not limited to Palestinians, Kurds, and Kashmiris – in all areas displaying international flags across the Rutgers campuses. 

10. Provide full amnesty for all students, student groups, faculty, and staff penalized for exercising their First Amendment right to protest Rutgers University’s support for Israeli human rights violations, and voice support for faculty and staff who have been publicly targeted for exercising their academic freedom.”

While the university administration did not meet the ask for divestment and termination of Rutgers University’s partnership with Tel Aviv university, CAIR-NJ welcomes the value of what was accomplished through the negotiations.

CAIR-NJ also welcomes the Rutgers administration for not going down the same path as Columbia University, and for not using violence and law enforcement to silence student protestors. The administration’s peaceful negotiations with students avoided potential civil rights violations, arrests, and violent escalation

The two main demands are still outstanding. CAIR-NJ urges that the conversation towards divestment should remain at the highest priority for Rutgers administration and its students.

SEE: RUTGERS ADMINISTRATION AGREES TO EIGHT DEMANDS PUT FORTH BY ENCAMPMENT PROTESTS 

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

“We welcome the work done by students at Rutgers New Brunswick University who were successful in negotiating with the university administration to meet eight out of their ten demands. 

Rutgers students have made undeniable progress, but there must continue to be pressure on Rutgers to divest from firms or corporations materially participating in, benefitting from, or otherwise supporting the state of Israel. Divestment is the number one priority of the student movement and those supporting them. Efforts to achieve it should passionately continue.

Students have every right to protest and assemble for Palestine. Universities across New Jersey must make it a priority to protect their students as they exercise these rights.” 

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, 908-668-5900 ext. 101, 908-267-3119