It’s been said many times, and I’m here to say it again: Donald Trump’s Islamophobic rhetoric is causing an upsurge in hate crime against Muslim Americans, and if you don’t believe me, there’s statistics to prove it. A study published by Georgetown University shows that when Donald Trump called for a “ban on all Muslim travel to the United States,” 53 attacks occurred that month alone. Unfortunately, it has not stopped there.
On Oct. 13, 2016, the Bayonne Muslim Community Center at St. Henry’s Church in Bayonne, N.J. was vandalized with hateful racial slurs. The church rents out its basement to the Muslim community, who use it as a temporary prayer space until they are approved for a new mosque.
‘All Americans must be able to practice their faith and worship as they choose without fear of harassment or intimidation. We urge state and law enforcement authorities to investigate this incident as a possible hate crime.’
Words like “F*** Muslims,” “Jesus Christ,” “F*** Arabs,” along with “Donald Trump” could be seen all over the wall as Muslims walked into the center after Jummah (Friday) prayer the following day. The Council of American Islamic Relations–New Jersey chapter issued a statement on their Facebook page calling law enforcement authorities to interrogate the graffiti at this community center.
CAIR-NJ Executive Director James Sues went on to say, “All Americans must be able to practice their faith and worship as they choose without fear of harassment or intimidation. We urge state and law enforcement authorities to investigate this incident as a possible hate crime.”
For nearly two decades, Bayonne’s Muslim residents have been trying to get a prayer hall of their own. However, the process has been continuously stalled by local bureaucracies. Earlier this year, Bayonne Republican activist Michael Alonso became vocal about his opposition of building a new mosque, claiming it to be “unsafe and unwise.”
At the most recent local zoning meeting, protesters held signs saying, “If the mosque comes, the mayors go.” Feeling anything but welcomed in their community, New Jersey residents have turned to Facebook to share their solidarity and post inspiring messages of hope, that despite this hateful rhetoric, the only way to make it through these times is to come together and take a stand against Islamophobia.