Calls for action after Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University vandalized during Eid al-Fitr

Anthony Johnson Image
Thursday, April 11, 2024
Calls for action after Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers vandalized
Anthony Johnson has a follow up on the vandalism and burglary at the Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.

NEW BRUNSWICK, New Jersey (WABC) -- There are calls for action following the vandalism of the Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University.

Crews have been hard at work cleaning the damage while police are working to find the suspects involved in this act of vandalism aimed at Muslim students on campus.

The Center for Islamic Life is described as a home away from home for some 6,000 Muslim students on the campus of Rutgers University.

"It's so disheartening and scary because it just solidifies the fact that we aren't safe here," said student Nehad Ali.

Center for Islamic Life chaplain Kaiser Aslam took video of the damage, which was extensive, and it happened on Eid, which wraps up the month of Ramadan.

There was artwork that contained Muslim prayers that was destroyed. Also, a Palestinian flag that was in the center was ripped down.

"It's like I can't even feel safe in my own campus," added student Nafees Shaheed. "Maybe it's just best if I stay at my dorm all day long."

Support has come in from around the country and the globe to support the students and staff of the Islamic center. There is a feeling that hate toward the Muslim and Palestinian students has been building because of the tensions in the Middle East.

Following the destruction in the Islamic center, the Muslim community says their security concerns have not been taken seriously.

"Based on the environment we are witnessing on our campus, in our nation, we implore that our needs be met," said Atiya Aftab, Chair of the Board, Islamic center.

Muslim and Jewish students as well on campus have been victims of intimidation and bias. Earlier this year, a Jewish student claimed Rutgers retaliated against him because he made them aware of antisemitic propaganda.

Both sides have felt the heat during a time of war in the Middle East.

"The Rutgers administration's failure to address these concerns earlier has not only allowed but affirmed the occurrence of further hateful acts towards our Muslim and Palestinian students on campus," said Nora, the President of the Muslim Public Relations Council.

Governor Phil Murphy sent out a message calling the vandalism disgusting.

"Disgusted to learn that the Center for Islamic Life at @RutgersU was vandalized during Eid," the governor said. "There is a criminal investigation underway and we are working with Rutgers and law enforcement to ensure the safety of our Muslim students. Islamophobia has NO place in New Jersey."

The president of the university has shown his support to the Muslim students as many say the act of hate will only strengthen their resolve.

The state's attorney general's says its Division of Criminal Justice is taking over the investigation.

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