More reports of anti-Muslim incidents in NJ
⚫ A growing number of reports of anti-Muslim bias incidents in New Jersey
⚫ It’s unclear why this is happening
⚫ NJ Muslim organization is trying to promote understanding and empathy
A new report finds the number of anti-Muslim discrimination cases in New Jersey has been rising.
According to Dina Sayedahmed, the communications manager for the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, there were 152 discrimination cases reported in 2022, compared to 104 in 2021.
She said complaints about workplace discrimination were most common, including one Muslim worker who was called “a piece of s_ _ t by their employer because they did not partake in happy hours.”
“As Muslims, we do not drink (alcohol) and we try to refrain from being around alcohol and we also try to refrain from being around alcohol," she said.
“And another Muslim worker was repeatedly insulted and the incidents ultimately culminated in the supervisor physically attacking them.”
Problems in schools as well
Sayedahmed said anti-Muslim incidents at schools tripled last year (27 reported cases in 2022 compared to 9 in 2021).
“You will have students who are deriding other students specifically for their faith, so they’re calling them a terrorist, for example," she said.
She noted this is more apt to happen during the month of September when class discussions about the 9/11 attacks take place.
She said students at North Brunswick High School were prohibited from establishing a Muslim student club, even though clubs of other faiths were allowed to be formed.
More anti-Muslim bigotry or not?
Sayedahmed said while the number of discrimination complaints increased significantly last year, the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has increased efforts to collect reports of these incidents, so it’s unclear whether bigotry is really increasing.
She said one focus of the report is to increase awareness about these incidents, and another is to reclaim the Muslim narrative “by being able to tell our own story and report our own history.”
“We really do want folks to make space for Muslims and also lend a compassionate and empathetic ear towards Muslims," she said.