An Islamic group is expressing concern about a possible rise in hate crimes against Muslims in the state in response to the recent arrests of alleged terrorists in South Jersey.

“We feel there is a backlash,” Afsheen Shamsi, communications director for the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Thursday.

She said at least two incidents, both in North Jersey, have occurred since the May 7 arrests of six men, described by authorities as “radical Islamists,” who are accused of plotting to attack Fort Dix. CAIR-NJ is looking into other reports of possible bias crimes against Muslims, she said.

CAIR-NJ is to discuss its concerns at a press conference today at its Princeton headquarters, Shamsi said. The group will commend local law enforcement for actions taken so far, but it also will call on the FBI to become involved, she said.

Also today, a Palmyra mosque — the Islamic Center of South Jersey — is to conduct a 7:30 p.m. open house for neighbors and others.

“We want to defuse any tensions,” said Naseem Badat, a spokeswoman for the Palmyra center, who said she knew of no bias incidents in this area. “But we are very upset. You cannot tell what could happen.”

Three of the terror suspects — Dritan Duka, 28, and his brothers, Shain, 26, and Eljvir, 23, all of Cherry Hill — worshipped at the Palmyra mosque.

Also charged were Mohamad Shnewer, 22, of Cherry Hill, Serdar Tatar, 23, of Philadelphia, and Agron Abdullahu, 24, of Buena Vista.

Shamsi said one incident occurred May 12 in Little Falls, Passaic County, in which a motorist allegedly shouted at a Muslim woman standing outside a laundry with her 3-year-old daughter.


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