Leaders of the Muslim community in northern New Jersey want the state attorney general to determine whether anti-Islam comments made by some Coptic Christians implicating Muslims in the killings of a Jersey City family should be prosecuted as bias crimes. Sohail Mohammed, the lawyer for the American Muslim Union, wrote to Attorney General Peter Harvey Wednesday seeking an investigation of comments made by some in the Coptic community in the days following the slaying of the Armanious family in January. Mohammed said those comments might have been designed to dissuade Muslims from attending the funeral, and could have been intended to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment.
He noted that many Muslim leaders stayed away from the funeral. The handful who did attend were greeted with abuse and several had to be escorted by police officers from the church hall where the funeral was being held for their own safety, he said. “We are concerned that those comments were deliberately intended to incite the public,” Mohammed said.
“If it was intentional, we want Mr. Harvey to do an investigation and determine if it was a bias crime. If there was bias related to it, it becomes a bias crime.” Lee Moore, a spokesman for the attorney general, said Wednesday his office had received Mohammeds letter, but added Harvey had not had a chance to review it. Moore declined further comment”¦