July 19, 2019 | 93° F

17 Muslim leaders meet at Rutgers to condemn Paris attacks

Tributes and flowers surround a fountain in remembrance of the victims of the Paris attacks, at Trafalgar Square in London, Britain November 15, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

While #Prayers4Paris continues to go viral globally on social media, Muslim leaders from across the state met in Piscataway to condemn Friday’s attacks.

The meeting, which took place at the Rutgers Visitor Center on Busch campus, aimed to send the message that acts of terrorism are against the values and traditions of the Muslim faith. The 17 leaders present included representation from mosques and Muslim organizations across the state.

“The Islamic Society of Central Jersey (ISCJ) expresses its condolences for all those in Paris, France ...” said the Islamic Society of Central Jersey in a press release. "We speak as Muslims, as Americans and as human beings who are committed to peace, healing, democracy and justice for all children and people in the world.”

Among the groups present were the New Jersey Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the New Brunswick Islamic Center and the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge.

“We condemn these horrific crimes in the strongest terms possible. Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of those killed and injured and with all of France,” CAIR said in a national statement on Friday.

While the meeting was underway, Gov. Chris Christie sent a letter to President Barack Obama yesterday stating that New Jersey would not accept any Syrian refugees in response to the Paris attacks.

On Monday, Christie said that not even “orphans under age five” from Syria would be allowed into New Jersey while on talk show host Hugh Hewitt’s conservative radio show. He cited lack of trust in the ability to screen incoming refugees as the reason for his stance. 

"I do not trust this administration to effectively vet the people who are supposed to be coming in, in order to protect the safety and security of the American people, so I would not permit them in,” Christie said on air.

And Christie is not alone. More than 20 other governors across the country responded similarly.

But according to the Muslim leaders who met at the University, this mindset and policy is destructive.

According to Asbury Park Press, Muslim leaders at the event said when alienated youth cannot find a voice in their communities, they seek it in radical groups such as ISIS.

"There is this constant refrain, 'You're not American,'" said Sami Catovic, director of the New Brunswick Islamic Center. "That's a message that is pushing them toward marginalization.”

Avalon Zoppo

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