CAIR-NJ Celebrates the Assembly’s Historic Vote in Support of Muslim Heritage Month Resolution
(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 03/30/2023) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today celebrated the State Assembly’s historic vote in support of the Muslim Heritage Month Resolution [AJR194], moving it from the legislature to the Governor’s desk.
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.
In a statement, CAIR-NJ Government Affairs Manager Madina P. Ouedraogo, MPA-PNP said:
“Our celebration today is twofold: We are marking the month of Ramadan, and celebrating the Assembly’s historic and monumental vote in favor of the Muslim Heritage Resolution.
“For the first time ever, New Jersey could be among a few states that recognize and pay homage to the American Muslim legacy. In the same way that negative depictions of Muslims heighten anti-Muslim bigotry, this resolution could play a role in pushing back against those sorts of prejudices.
“New Jersey has the highest percentage of Muslims in the U.S., at 3.5 percent. It is also one of the most diverse states in the country, with nearly one in four residents identifying as immigrants. It is only appropriate that we recognize the beautiful diversity of the Garden State, and we look forward to seeing Governor Murphy sign this resolution into action.”
New Jersey has the highest percentage of Muslim residents in the U.S., at 3.5 percent, according to 2020 US Religion Census and the Association of Religion Data Archives. Earlier this month, two Muslim women who wear hijab, the Honorable Nadia Kahf and Dalya Youssef, were appointed to the New Jersey Superior Court bench. New Jersey also leads the way for local representation, with over 40 Muslim elected officials. The state elected the first ever Muslims to the New Jersey State Legislature, Sadaf Jaffer (LD-16) and Shama Haidar (LD-37), last year.
Still, however, anti-Muslim incidents are on the rise. CAIR-NJ received over 150 calls for help in 2022 alone. This resolution seeks to push back against anti-Muslim bigotry by celebrating American Muslims and shedding a positive light on the 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), Assemblyman Atkins (LD-20) and Assemblywoman Park (LD-37).
Muslim Heritage Month started with a vision from the Honorable Imam Warith Deen Mohammed. The first practicing Muslim in the United States were enslaved Africans who carried their faith with them and utilized it as a way to stay connected to their identities that were being brutally stripped from them while in bondage. It was their descendants, Black and African American Muslims, who would go on to later lay the foundation for the modern day American Muslim experience, which has allowed Muslims from diverse backgrounds to practice their faith within the United States as we know it today. The Honorable Imam Mohammed sought to make sure that this history is acknowledged and celebrated.
CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Communications Manager Dina Sayedahmed, email@example.com, 551-221-5592