CAIR-NJ to Join in Presentation of Award to Syrian-American Muslim Hero Zack Tahhan for Assisting Capture of Subway Bombing Suspect

CAIR-NJ to Join in Presentation of Award to Syrian-American Muslim Hero Zack Tahhan for Assisting Capture of Subway Bombing Suspect 

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 4/21/2022) – On Friday, April 22, the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) will join Prospect Park Mayor Mohamed T. Khairullah and Mayor Mike Ghassali of the Borough of Montvale to honor Syrian-American Muslim Zack Tahhan with a Good Samaritan Award.

Tahhan is being hailed for spotting and pointing out the Brooklyn subway mass shooting suspect, which helped lead to the capture and arrest of the individual.

 

WHEN: Friday, April 22, 5 PM 

WHERE: In front of the Prospect Park Municipal Building, 106 Brown Avenue, Prospect Park, NJ

CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut, 908-267-3119, smaksut@cair.com

 

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

“Zack was quick-thinking and showed great courage at a time when many others would hesitate to act. We applaud his bravery. We are grateful to Mayor Khairullah and Mayor Ghassali for organizing the ceremony to honor Zack Tahhan. It is important that we uplift those who do good as an example for others.” 

Maksut said the American Muslim community is very proud of Tahhan for his actions that day. 

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

END

CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut, 908-267-3119, smaksut@cair.com

 


 

SYRIAN AMERICAN MAYORS TO HONOR LOCAL SYRIAN AMERICAN HERO 

 

Prospect Park Mayor Mohamed T. Khairullah and Montvale Mayor Mike Ghassali to Honor 

Syrian-American Hero Zack Tahhan with a Key to City and Proclamation 

 

(PROSPECT PARK, NJ) – Mayor Mohamed T. Khairullah, the Municipal Council, of the Borough of Prospect Park in partnership with Mayor Mike Ghassali of the Borough of Montvale will be holding a joint press conference and ceremony on Friday, April 22, 2022 at 5:00PM in front of the Prospect Park Municipal Building (106 Brown Avenue, Prospect Park, NJ) to honor Syrian American hero and New Jersey resident Zack Tahhan who is being hailed for spotting and pointing out the Brooklyn subway mass shooting suspect which led to the capture and arrest of the individual. 

 

The 21-year-old New Jerseyan who hails from Aleppo, Syria was immediately celebrated by New Yorkers and his fellow Americans after he quickly jumped to action when he spotted the terror suspect. Mr. Tahhan who works as a security camera technician immediately identified the subway mass shooting suspect to local authorities from photographs released by the NYPD which was widely shared online and in the media while he was updating a closed-circuit TV system at a hardware store in Manhattan’s East Village. Mr. Tahhan’s alertness and bravery in helping capture the Brooklyn subway terrorist, who was armed and dangerous, thus preventing further casualties to the general public, comes in the aftermath of a shocking attack that left 29 people wounded, including five in critical condition. 

 

“I am happy that the Brooklyn Subway shooter was captured quickly, ending the possibility of any further harm to other innocent lives,” stated Mayor Mohamed T. Khairullah of Prospect Park who will be presenting a ‘Key to the City’ to Zack Tahhan. The irony in the efforts of Mr. Tahhan being a Syrian American who had to flee the war in Syria, is that if he was not born in the United States, he would have never been allowed into the United States because he would be considered a terror suspect, which he proved to be the furthest from and is now he is hailed as an American hero. His story debunks the fear mongers’ narrative and affirms the oneness of our humanity, Mayor Khairullah added. 

 

“I am incredibly proud of everyone’s efforts to catch the Brooklyn shooter and stop him from causing more harm,” said Mayor Mike Ghassali of Montvale who will be presenting a Proclamation to honor Zack Tahhan’s heroic efforts. “I am especially proud of a fellow Syrian, Zack Tahhan who he himself witnessed atrocities and escaped danger while in Syria and knows what pain and anguish violence brings to families. Zack Tahhan represents the true American Syrian people who love and care for this country and for what it stands for, he is a hero,” Mayor Ghassali added. 

 

CONTACT: Intashan Chowdhury, MPA 

P: (973) 790-7902 ext. 532 

E: chowdhuryi@prospectpark.net 

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Conviction of Couple for Anti-Muslim Harassment

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Conviction of Couple for Anti-Muslim Harassment

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 4/21/2022) – 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 the conviction of a Hudson County couple who harassed and threatened a neighbor they perceived to be Muslim.

The couple made threatening remarks to the neighbor on the basis of his perceived religion on several occasions from between 2016 and 2018. One occasion, the husband reportedly made gun gestures with his fingers at the neighbor and his three and seven-year-old children and then ran his finger in a slashing motion across his throat. The couple were initially arrested in 2018 and will be sentenced in June.

SEE: Jersey City couple convicted of years of anti-Muslim harassment of neighbor
https://www.nj.com/hudson/2022/04/jersey-city-couple-convicted-of-years-of-anti-muslim-harassment-of-neighbor.html

“We welcome guilty verdicts for the perpetrators of this disturbing, hateful crime, and we’re thankful that they were convicted before they could carry out their threats,” said CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut. “Communities in New Jersey and nationwide must come together and reject anti-Muslim bigotry and other forms of hate.”

He said CAIR and the American Muslim community stand in solidarity with all those challenging antisemitism, anti-Black racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and white supremacy.

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

END

CAIR-NJ Condemns Racist Calls Harassing Palestinian Business in Paterson

CAIR-NJ Condemns Racist Calls Harassing Palestinian Business in Paterson   

(South Plainfield, NJ, 4/15/22) – 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 a series of racist anonymous calls targeting a Palestinian-owned small business in Paterson, N.J.

Harassing phone calls to Palestine Hair Salon in Paterson were placed earlier this month. The anonymous caller repeatedly insulted Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, Islam, and Muslims. The caller also called Palestinians terrorists and thieves.

LISTEN: SEE VIDEO

 

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

“This harassment is a reminder of the deep-seated animus against Arabs and Muslims. Such a display of unabashed Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian hate must be firmly condemned by everyone who values humanity and its diversity.”   

In a statement, PACC (Palestinian American Community Center) Executive Director Rania Mustafa said:

“These calls started shortly after the City Council voted on re-naming Main Street between Buffalo and Gould Ave ‘Palestine Way’ in recognition of the contributions that the Palestinian American community has given to Paterson. We do think the timing is not a coincidence, but a direct response. We must condemn and firmly stand against the erasure of any recognition of Palestine and the contributions of Palestinians.”

 

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

END 

CAIR, CAIR-NJ Welcome Guilty Plea in Racist Harassment Targeting Black Woman in Maryland

CAIR, CAIR-NJ Welcome Guilty Plea in Racist Harassment Targeting Black Woman in Maryland

 

(South Plainfield, 3/9/2022) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its New Jersey chapter (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed a guilty plea by a New Jersey man who sent racist, threatening texts to a Black woman in Maryland.

The man reportedly sent anonymous texts in which he used racial slurs and threatened the woman and her family, telling her to “eat my bullets” and that he knows where she lives. The man also reportedly threatened to rape the woman’s family. The man pled guilty to making threatening interstate communications and faces up to five years in prison.

 

SEE: N.J. man admits sending racist, threatening text to Black woman in Maryland

https://www.nj.com/gloucester-county/2022/03/nj-man-admits-sending-racist-threatening-text-to-black-woman-in-maryland.html

“These horrific messages of hate remind us of the danger of racism in our society,” said CAIR Maryland Director Zainab Chaudry. “We welcome the guilty plea in this case and urge law enforcement to take all cases of racist harassment seriously.”

“We condemn this abhorrent act of hate and welcome the guilty plea,” said CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut. “Communities in New Jersey, Maryland and nationwide must come together to oppose the rising tide of violent racism and bigotry.”

The American Muslim community and CAIR stand in solidarity with all those challenging anti-Black racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, antisemitism, white supremacy, and all other forms of bigotry.

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

 

END 

CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut, 908-267-3119, smaksut@cair.com; CAIR Office in Maryland Director Zainab Chaudry, 410-971-6062, zchaudry@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Coordinator Ismail Allison, 202-770-6280, iallison@cair.com

CAIR New Jersey Condemns Racist, Obscene Banner Hung on Overpass

CAIR New Jersey Condemns Racist, Obscene Banner Hung on Overpass 

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 3/7/2022) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today condemned the racist and obscene banner hung from an overpass on Route 22.
An investigation by the Bridgewater Police Department is ongoing after the anti-Black Lives Matter sign was placed over American flags on the pedestrian overpass over Route 22 to the Bridgewater Commons Mall last week.

 

SEE: Police Investigating Racist, Profane Banner Hung on Overpass on NJ Highway  

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/paterson/sections/other-nj-news/articles/police-investigating-racist-profane-banner-hung-on-overpass-on-nj-highway

 

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

“We strongly condemn this racist banner and urge people of all backgrounds in our state to repudiate the growing bigotry and division we are witnessing in New Jersey and nationwide.”  

He said the American Muslim community and CAIR stand in solidarity with all those challenging anti-Black racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, antisemitism, white supremacy and all other forms of bigotry.

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

END 

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Gov. Murphy’s Diverse List of Judicial Nominees, Including Two Muslims

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Gov. Murphy’s Diverse List of Judicial Nominees, Including Two Muslims 

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 3/1/2022) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed the diversity of Governor Phil Murphy’s 15 new judicial nominees, including CAIR-NJ’s Board of Director’s Chairwoman Nadia Kahf Esq.

If confirmed by the State Senate, Nadia would be the first Muslim woman to wear hijab on the bench.

Nadia Kahf, Esq. practices immigration law in Haledon, N.J., and would sit in Passaic County.  She is the Chairwoman of CAIR-NJ board, having served in that position since 2003.

She is the legal advisor to Wafa House, a Passaic County-based non-profit domestic violence agency, and Chairwoman of ICPC (Islamic Center of Passaic County).

 

SEE: Murphy names 15 new judges with huge number of minority nominees

 

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

“We welcome the diversity of the Governor’s fifteen nominees, and in particular the nominations of Nadia Kahf and Rahat Bader, two American Muslims.  

“Nadia is a pillar in the community. She has served the North Jersey Muslim community selflessly for much of her life in multiple volunteer and leadership capacities. From her community-oriented work at the Islamic Center of Passaic County and WAFA House, to her passion for the civil rights work of our CAIR-New Jersey office, Nadia has long been a champion for social justice.  

“We are honored by the nomination and pray that she is successfully appointed as a superior court judge.   

“Her potential judgeship as a Muslim woman is especially inspiring for so many aspiring young American Muslims. As a pioneer in the field, she will pave the way for so many others” 

 

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

 

END 

CAIR-NJ Condemns Bias Attack at Paterson Mosque, Welcomes Prosecutor’s Charges

CAIR-NJ Condemns Bias Attack at Paterson Mosque, Welcomes Prosecutor’s Charges

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 3/1/2022) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today condemned an alleged assault on a Paterson mosque muezzin(the one who calls the prayer) by a Paterson resident.  

 

CAIR New Jersey also welcomed the Passaic County Prosecutor’s charges against the alleged attacker.  

  

Edward Wright, who was arrested Feb. 22, allegedly entered the mosque on Preakness Avenue on Dec. 23 and shoved and struck a prayer leader while yelling in a threatening manner, according to Sheriff Richard Berdnik.  

  

The suspect had been railing against the call to prayer (adhan) at Masjid Abu Bakr, which is conducted on a loudspeaker. He allegedly stated, “This needs to stop,” “You guys need to go somewhere else” and “I don’t want to hear that [expletive] every day,” Berdnik said.  

  

Wright, 57, allegedly pushed the man from the back, slapped a microphone from his hand and struck him in the shoulder, Berdnik said. The victim in the alleged assault was a muezzin, an assistant to the imam who issues the call to prayer, said Burhan Uddin, a mosque board member.  

  

He was charged with simple assault and bias intimidation and released pending a court date. The matter was referred to the Bias Crime Unit at the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, Berdnik said.  

 

VIDEO: CAIR-NJ: Man accused of bias attack at Paterson mosque during call to prayer 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJkzOOsHtNQ 

   

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

     

“This incident is concerning for the local Muslim community that frequents the mosque. Having a stranger enter the mosque with the alleged intention to inflict physical harm is unsettling at the very least. The Islamophobia and racism against Muslims that continues to negatively impact our nation will not deter American Muslims from practicing their faith. We are an unapologetic community that will not be intimidated.    

  

“The incident is an assault on our freedoms and rights as Americans before it is an assault on our faith community. New Jersey law allows for all houses of worship, regardless of faith, to publicly issue their call to prayer.  

 

“Be it a church bell, the Muslim adhan, or other religious sounds, all houses of worship and New Jerseyans are granted equal opportunity in this regard, and to practice their faith freely under the law. No racist attacker will take this away from us.”  

  

“I live only a few minutes from Abu Bakr Masjid. I often see elderly Muslims in traditional clothing walking the area. They feel safe, but alleged racist attacks like this erode that feeling, causing many to second guess their daily walks to and from the mosque. It’s an unfortunate reality we plan to address in the locale.” 

 

He said CAIR is urging houses of worship to take extra security precautions using its “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety” booklet. The advice in CAIR’s security publication is applicable to religious institutions of all faiths.    


The booklet may be viewed at:
https://www.cair.com/mosque-and-community-safety/     

  

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

  

END    

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Dismissal of Complaint Against Clifton BOE Members for Supporting Palestinian Human Rights

CAIR-NJ Welcomes Dismissal of Complaint Against Clifton BOE Members for Supporting Palestinian Human Rights

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 2/22/2022) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed the School Ethics Commission’s motion to dismiss the complaint against two Clifton Board of Education members for their public statements in support of Palestinian human rights.

The complaint, issued on September 13, 2021, falsely labeled the statements in support of Palestine made by Clifton B.O.E. members Fahim Abedrabbo and Feras Awwad as “intensely anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.”

The Commission voted to grant the Motion to Dismiss the complaint in its entirety, stating the complainant failed to prove their speech was in violation of any school ethics codes.

 

SEE: Elisabeth Schwartz Complainant v. Fahim Abedrabbo and Feras Awwad Clifton Board of Education, Passaic County, Respondents 

https://www.nj.gov/education/legal/ethics/2022/docs/C40-21_CE_et.pdf

 

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

“This is a small win for Palestinian human rights advocacy, and a win for freedom of speech.”  

“Our CAIR-NJ office welcomes the commission’s dismissal against these baseless smears attempting to silence public figures from fairly and openly critiquing the Israeli government’s human rights violations.”   

“Antisemitism is an ugly form of racism that should be shut down and refuted at every opportunity, but valid criticism of internationally-recognized apartheid and war crimes is not antisemitism.”  

“Elected officials and all Americans have the right to be critical of foreign governments and political ideologies, especially those partaking in and promoting racial and religious segregation and apartheid.”   

He noted that Rutgers professor and Westfield Board of Education Vice President, Sahar Aziz, Esq. is similarly been criticized for her tweets and retweets about Israel and Palestine.   

Maksut said the CAIR-NJ office issued a statement expressing support for Aziz’s statements on Israel and Palestine and further condemned those shamelessly smearing her name.

 

SEE: CAIR-NJ Condemns Smears Targeting Rutgers Prof, Westfield BOE VP Sahar Aziz

https://cair-nj.org/cair-nj-condemns-smears-targeting-rutgers-prof-westfield-boe-vp-sahar-aziz/

A Call For Better Holocaust Education in Westfield, Questions Over Mideast Tweets 

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/westfield/sections/education/articles/a-call-for-better-holocaust-education-in-westfield-questions-over-mideast-tweets

Sahar Aziz Esq., Professor of Law and Chancellor’s Social Justice Scholar 

https://law.rutgers.edu/directory/view/8277

 

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

END  

CAIR-NJ Condemns Smears Targeting Rutgers Prof, Westfield BOE VP Sahar Aziz 

CAIR-NJ Condemns Smears Targeting Rutgers Prof, Westfield BOE VP Sahar Aziz 

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 2/22/2022) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today expressed solidarity with Rutgers University professor and Westfield Board of Education Vice President Sahar Aziz, Esq., who has come under attack for retweets about Palestine.

CAIR-NJ also condemned those smearing Aziz for her stance on Palestinian and defended Aziz’s right to free speech. Aziz retweeted a statement by Edo Konrad: “Chanting ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ is not antisemitic. Rather, it’s an invitation for Palestinians and Jews to imagine themselves as free and equal in this land. Why is that so terrifying to many?”

Aziz said the retweet is part of her work as a law professor and expert on the Middle East, which she said is separate from her work as a school board member.

School board officials said that tweet and others do not violate New Jersey’s School Ethics Act or any law.

“We’re confident that there has been no violation of any state law or board bylaw,” Galligan said. “The tweets were made on Sahar’s personal account, and they aren’t in violation.”

Board attorney Derlys Gutierrez said, “Ms. Aziz’s work posts — there’s nothing illegal about them, and we’re not going to make any further comment on them.”

 

SEE: A Call For Better Holocaust Education in Westfield, Questions Over Mideast Tweets 

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/westfield/sections/education/articles/a-call-for-better-holocaust-education-in-westfield-questions-over-mideast-tweets

SEE: Sahar Aziz Esq., Professor of Law and Chancellor’s Social Justice Scholar 

https://law.rutgers.edu/directory/view/8277

 

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

“Professor Aziz is a distinguished academic and attorney who is being targeted with ugly smears for exercising her right to free speech and defending Palestinian human rights.   

“We stand with Professor Aziz and condemn those who shamelessly smear her name for speaking the truth on Palestine. 

 “To claim her retweet in question is problematic or even antisemitic is disingenuous and dishonest. Such baseless attacks should never be tolerated.  

“Last year, others similarly attempted to silence two Clifton Board of Education members for voicing solidarity with Palestine but failed in their efforts after the school ethics commission dismissed the complaints.  

“These desperate attempts to take away our right to free speech are deeply troubling, and should never be entertained or taken seriously by our elected officials or the public.” 

“Elected officials and all Americans have the right to be critical of foreign governments and political ideologies, especially those promoting racial and religious apartheid and the denial of basic human rights.”  

 

In a statement, Islamic Center of Union County President Dr. Wail Rasheed said:

“We stand in solidarity with Professor Sahar Aziz. The Professor has done nothing wrong. She has every right to be vocal on her personal social media and comment on issues that are relevant to her area of expertise and we condemn all forms of racism, including antisemitism. But to equate the Professor’s posts with antisemitism is inaccurate and unjust.”

 

Maksut said the School Ethics Commission issued a motion to dismiss a complaint against Clifton BOE members, Fahim Abedrabbo and Feras Awwad, accusing them of anti-Semitism for their public statements in support of Palestine. This expression of free speech does not impact their duties or capacity as board members.  

He welcomed the dismissal and argued the complaint was a baseless smear attempting to stop public figures from fairly and openly critiquing the Israeli government and Zionism as a political ideology.  

Maksut added that the critique of Israel or Zionism is not equivalent to antisemitism, and thus is protected by the constitutional right to free speech.  

 

SEE: Elisabeth Schwartz Complainant v. Fahim Abedrabbo and Feras Awwad Clifton Board of Education, Passaic County, Respondents 

https://www.nj.gov/education/legal/ethics/2022/docs/C40-21_CE_et.pdf

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

END   

CAIR-NJ Joins NAACP Call for Police Officers’ Removal After Discriminatory Incident  

CAIR-NJ Joins NAACP Call for Police Officers’ Removal After Discriminatory Incident  

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 2/17/2022) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today called on the Bridgewater Police Department to remove two police officers from duty as investigators look into a brawl that resulted in a Black teen pinned to the floor in handcuffs while the white teen was apparently left alone.

The township has found itself in the center of the national controversy over police use of force after a video showing two officers breaking up a fight between two teens, one Black and one white, at Bridgewater Commons Mall over the weekend went viral.

The video has prompted the NAACP to call for the officers to be “removed” from the Bridgewater Police Department pending an investigation by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General.

 

SEE: After Bridgewater Commons mall fight, NAACP calls for police officers’ removal 

https://www.mycentraljersey.com/story/news/crime/2022/02/16/bridgewater-nj-mall-fight-video-naacp-police-officer-removal/6814033001/

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

“The incident is outrageous. The disparate treatment the two teens received by the police officers highlights the blatant racism that continues to clout the judgment of so many in law enforcement.  

“Our office echoes calls made by the NAACP New Jersey State Conference for the immediate removal of the officers pending an investigation.  

“We welcome the internal affairs investigation led by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, and hope appropriate disciplinary action is taken against the officers. There must be zero tolerance for such inappropriate behavior.”   

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

END