Muslim community center vandalized with racial slurs in New Jersey

Local Muslim Americans in Bayonne, New Jersey, were shocked to find Islamophobic epithets and “Donald Trump” spray-painted all over the Bayonne Muslim Community Center on Friday.
Words such as “fuck Allah,” “fuck Arabs,” “Jesus Christ” and “fuck ISIS” were found plastered all over the red-brick building, which is also referred to as “Al Mi’raj Masjid.”
“It was sad to see this after our morning prayers,” Waheed Akbar, an administrator for the mosque, said in a phone interview. “We believe our town, our city and our neighbors are a great set of people, and we always try to foster positive relationships with them.”
The Bayonne Police Department chief and detectives have opened an investigation into the crime. The Council of American Islamic Relations’ New Jersey chapter issued a press statement pressuring federal law enforcement to probe the Islamophobic hate graffiti in the local mosque.
“All Americans must be able to practice their faith and worship as they choose without fear of harassment or intimidation,” CAIR-NJ executive director James Sues said in the statement. “We urge state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate this incident as a possible hate crime.”
According to Akbar, the spray-painted obscenities were quickly washed off with the help of worshippers at the mosque. But while the Islamophobic words are gone, the anti-Muslim sentiment has long lingered across the community.
The vandalism comes at a difficult time for local Muslims in Bayonne. The Bayonne Muslim Community Center, currently operating in two small rooms they rented in a basement of a local church, has been fighting to get approval from the city’s zoning board since January to start construction for their new mosque. After heavy anti-Muslim opposition, the zoning board has postponed their board hearings and decision.
Local Muslim residents fundraised money for several years to buy the old building and plan the construction of their new mosque. After being notified of the plans for a new Muslim community center, several city residents protested the construction.

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