CAIR-NJ Thanks Sens. Booker and Menendez, Rep. Pascrell for Demanding Answers Over Mayor’s Ban from White House Eid Event
(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 5/2/2023) —The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today thanked Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell’s (D-NJ-9) for their letter to the White House, and called on the Biden administration to issue a public apology to Prospect Park Mayor Mohamed T. Khairullah, in response to U.S. Secret Service abruptly disinviting him from the White House Eid celebration due to security concerns.
Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-9) today wrote a letter to the U.S. Secret Service and the President’s Deputy Assistant and Social Secretary calling on them to provide “substantive reasons” explaining why Mayor Khairullah was denied entry to the White House for the annual Eid celebration.
Their letter states in part:
“We ask for you to provide our offices with information in a format and classification level that facilitates a detailed explanation of what occurred and why.”
Separately, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) issued a statement expressing disappointment, saying “I was so profoundly disappointed that Mayor Khairullah — whose effective leadership and passion for public service has made him beloved in New Jersey — would be rejected from entering one of our nation’s more important civic spaces: our White House.”
In a statement, CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut, said:
“We thank Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, as well as Congressman Bill Pascrell for pursuing answers from the Secret Service and the White House. The government must provide an explanation for the abrupt revocation of Mayor Khairullah’s invitation to the White House and ensure this never happens to him again.
“We thank them for standing by the mayor and calling for a detailed explanation. Senator Booker has been especially swift in responding to our calls. We appreciate him and his team for their astute attention to this important matter.
“In addition, we strongly urge the government to stop using the unconstituonal watchlist to target innocent people. While Mayor Khairullah is at the epicenter of this incident, it has been abundantly clear for several years now that expansive watchlists with no due process or transparency carry very real consequences, some of which cannot be reversed. This is long overdue.”
In a statement, Mayor Mohamed T. Khairullah said:
“I express my gratitude and appreciation to the many elected officials who stood by me, including Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, and Congressman Bill Pascrell, but it’s important to note that this issue goes beyond an invitation to the White House, or even myself as an individual.
“There are at least 1.5 million people on that watchlist, the majority of whom have Muslim and/or Arab names. It’s a disgrace that these sorts of lists exist, especially because there is no actual recourse for people like myself who are blacklisted. I ask the Biden administration to do what’s right and dismantle these lists entirely.”
During a press conference today, CAIR-NJ again called on the Biden administration to issue a public apology to Prospect Park Mayor Mohamed T. Khairullah and re-invite him to the White House to discuss the tangible consequences of the watchlist during a press conference today, and echoed Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell’s (D-NJ-9) demand for answers.
Several members of New Jersey Governor Murphy Intergovernmental Affairs team along with various coalition partners, including the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, the New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association, the Center for Security, Race and Rights, the American Friends Service Committee, Faith in New Jersey, Justice for All, and the Palestinian American Community Center also attended CAIR-NJ’s press conference in support of CAIR-NJ’s asks and Mayor Khairullah.
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Communications Manager Dina Sayedahmed, email@example.com, 551-221-5592; CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell, 404-285-9530, e-Mitchell@cair.com; CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email@example.com, CAIR National Communications Manager Ismail Allison, 202-770-6280, firstname.lastname@example.org