'Our Safe Space Destroyed on Eid': Muslims Feel Unsafe after Islamic Center Vandalized at Rutgers

9:07 - April 12, 2024
News ID: 3487902
IQNA – Muslims students at Rutgers University have expressed concern about their safety as their Islamic center was vandalized on Eid al-Fitr.

'Our Safe Space Destroyed on Eid': Muslims Feel Unsafe after Islamic Center Vandalized at Rutgers


A sense of unease has permeated the Muslim students at Rutgers University following the vandalism of the campus’s Islamic center, which coincided with the sacred holiday of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan.

In a show of solidarity, a diverse group of community members, including Christians, gathered to pray and extend their support to the Muslim students at the Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University. The leaders of the Muslim community emphasized the sanctity of the center to many, highlighting that the act of vandalism occurred on Wednesday, CBS News reported.

Christian chaplain Matt Murphy expressed his dismay, stating, “I think it’s appalling what happened here. It’s awful. So we stand with them and behind them.”

Nehad Ali, a student, voiced her distress, saying, “Our only safe space here got destroyed on Eid, and our Palestinian flag was taken, and that’s all the messaging you really need to know.”

The center’s chaplain reported that the theft of the Palestinian flag was not the only act of desecration. Art pieces adorned with verses from the Quran were ruined, and windows were broken.

The attorney general’s office, in conjunction with Middlesex county prosecutors, has initiated an investigation into the incident.

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Despite receiving global support, Muslim students continue to express feelings of insecurity on campus.

One student recounted the discomfort of being scrutinized for wearing a keffiyah in solidarity with the Palestinians. Ansiah Mahmood, a student, shared her experience, saying, “I can say I’ve literally been walking the street, and someone turns to me and says ‘Are you one of those “free Palestine” people,’ just as a taunt.”

'Our Safe Space Destroyed on Eid': Muslims Feel Unsafe after Islamic Center Vandalized at Rutgers

Nora Asker, the president of the Muslim Public Relations Council, has been urging Rutgers officials for weeks to provide protection for Muslim and Arab students, particularly those of Palestinian descent, in light of the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza.

Asker stated, “Islamophobia has been plaguing our campus, manifesting in verbal harassment of students, physical acts of hate and and Islamophobic threats left on personal property and vehicles.”

Rutgers officials have publicly condemned the incident at the center, affirming their commitment to addressing every claim of bias and hate seriously.

Chaplain Kaiser Aslam revealed that surveillance footage from both inside and outside the center is in the possession of the authorities.

Aslam stated, “Whatever the intention was, to hurt or scare or whatever the case was, it didn’t work. It did quite the opposite, and show the resolve we have as a community.”


Source: Agencies