Muslim and Arab-American leaders in New Jersey met
yesterday with representatives of that state’s Division on Civil Rights
(DCR) to begin a dialogue on issues of concern to both communities,
particularly religious and ethnic discrimination.
The round-table discussion with the DCR, a state agency operating under the
office of the New Jersey Attorney General, was co-hosted by the Jersey
office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ). It was the
agency’s first formal meeting with Muslim and Arab-American leaders.
“Unlike hate crimes, discrimination is a subtler, yet more prevalent
phenomenon that negatively impacts members of many minority communities,
including Muslims and Arab-Americans,” said CAIR-NJ Executive Director
Faiza Ali. “By its very nature, it is harder to detect but may ultimately
cause more damage to individuals and their families.”
Ali welcomed the opportunity to work with the DCR to address religious
discrimination and the protection of civil liberties.
Groups that took part in the meeting included the New Jersey office of the
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Human Rights and Education
Law Project, the Islamic Center of Passaic County, the Islamic Educational
Center of North Hudson, and the Islamic Center of Central Jersey. DCR
representatives included Director J. Frank Vespa-Papaleo and Assistant
Directors Gary LoCassio and Philip Freeman.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 28 regional
offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.
CONTACT: Faiza Ali, Executive Director, 908-209-7440, E-MAIL: