Report: Hate crimes increase against Muslims in New Jersey

CYRIL JOSH BARKER | 12/15/2016, 10:28 a.m.
Numbers from the New Jersey State Police indicate that while the total number of hate crimes has gone down, the ...
Newark, New Jersey File

Numbers from the New Jersey State Police indicate that while the total number of hate crimes has gone down, the number of hate crimes targeted toward Muslims in the state is up.

In 2015, hate crimes against Muslims increased by two-thirds. One of the most recent hate crimes included graffiti that called South Brunswick school board candidate Azra Baig a “raghead” and “ISIS sympathizer” the day after Election Day 2016.

Campaign lawn signs positioned in the vicinity of South Brunswick High School were defaced with phrases. Six different lawn signs were defaced between Sept. 26 and Oct. 21.

The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate hate graffiti.

Another notable incident occurred in November in South Plainfield when hate graffiti was left at a mosque in Bayonne. The messages, spray-painted on the walls of the temporary location of Bayonne Muslims, included “[Expletive] Arabs” and promoted Jesus Christ and Donald Trump. Worshippers found the hate messages early in the morning while attending morning prayers.

“This kind of hate speech serves to reinforce negative stereotypes and cast a shadow of suspicion and doubt over all Muslims,” said James Sues, executive director of CAIR-NJ. “We urge state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate this incident as a possible hate crime.”