Piscataway NJ – In the wake of yesterday’s Star Ledger editorial calling on State Senator Bob Smith to apologize for an Anti-Muslim flyer he funded in his hometown of Piscataway, and which was circulated by the wife of Piscataway Mayor Brian Wahler, more than 300 people have signed on to a public statement condemning the hateful flyer and echoing the call for an apology.
Signed by Montgomery Mayor Sadaf Jaffer, the first female Muslim mayor in NJ, Hazim Yassi, Councilman, Borough of Red Bank, members of the Middlesex County Democratic Organization and other elected officials, as well as leaders of CAIR, Young Muslims, NJ Citizen Action, Action Together New Jersey, NJ Working Families Alliance, Our Revolution New Jersey, area progressive organizations and hundreds of residents from around the state, the statement reads:
“As public leaders, members and supporters of a wide array of faith-based, community and progressive organizations, and residents of our diverse state, we stand in opposition to the hateful election flyer distributed in Piscataway, which called Dr. Atif Nazir ‘the leader of a radical group trying to take over our local government.’
It is a deep betrayal of public responsibility that the flyer was signed by office holders Kapil Shah, Nitang Patel and Kalpesh Patel; paid for by the Election Fund of Sen. Bob Smith; and circulated by the wife of Mayor Brian Wahler. It was targeted to Indian-Americans and translated into Gujarati to target that voting bloc. This was a dog-whistle attack, coded to stir fear and division against the Muslim community in Piscataway, where Dr. Nazir has served as a school board member. It is an attempt to divide the South Asian community along religious, ethnic and national lines. It is also an effort to smear everyone who is standing up for an open electoral process.
We condemn the use of these divisive and truly shameful tactics, which we see on a daily basis in our national political dialogue. We stand in solidarity with Dr. Nazir and all of Piscataway, which is the seventh most diverse community in New Jersey. We will not be silent while this kind of fear-mongering and intolerance is being used to divide people. We call on all of those involved to retract this statement publicly and to apologize publicly to Dr. Nazir and to the entire Piscataway community.
“Despite widespread, growing opposition to and concern about this flyer, Sen. Smith, Municipal Chairman Ted Light, Mayor Brain Wahler and his wife, the elected officials who signed the letter and the rest of the Piscataway Democratic Organization have not apologized. They have had more than a week to address this divisive flyer,” said Herb Tarbous. “We applaud and thank the elected officials, leaders of other organizations and every day residents who are standing up for Dr. Nazir and against hate.”
List of signatories includes:
Sadaf Jaffer, Mayor, Montgomery Township
Hazim Yassin, Councilman, Borough of Red Bank
Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, Exec. Director, NJ Citizen Action
Uyen “Winn” Khuong, Exec. Director, Action Together NJ
Peter Jacob, Our Revolution New Jersey
Ken McNamara, President, CWA Local 1037
Sue Altman, NJ Working Families*
Mussab Ali, Member, Board of Education, Jersey City*
James R. Sues, Exec. Director, CAIR NJ*
Sohail Butt, NJ Muslim Voter Project*
Aqil Farooqui, Young Muslims*
Shawn Butt, NJ Muslim Voter Project*
Abdul-Basit Haqq, Committeeman, Middlesex County Democratic Organization
Herb Tarbous, Committeeman, Middlesex County Democratic Organization
Dr. Tom Connors, Committeeman, Middlesex County Democratic Organization
Laura Tarbous, Committeewoman, Middlesex County Democratic Organization
Staci Berger, Piscataway Progressive Democratic Organization
Mindy Walsh, Central Jersey Progressive Democrats
Asadullah Syed, HRA NYC
Ali H. Aljarrah, CAIR NJ*
Rabia Awan, M.D.
Hasan Miraj, M.D.
Salman Z Shaikh
Gulam (Allen) Charania
Muhammad Khan, M.D.
Muhammad Omais Ahmed
Abdul Malik Popal
Abdul Mannan Khan
Ahmed Abdul Mateen
Gulam (Allen) Charania
Dr. Masood Ranginwala
Shahid Iqbal Butt
Zubairuddin A Warsi
Ehsan F Chowdhry, Esq.
Mohammad A. Butt
Ahmed Tyree Barba-Bey II
David Jose Benitez-Nieves
Shelley Sara Block
Adil S. Ahmed, Esq.
Roshanna B. Malone
*Organization is listed for identification purposes only
This list continues to be updated.