NEW BRUNSWICK – Increased security has been requested for Muslim students at Rutgers University after a poster calling for a “Muslim-Free America” was found on a campus building used by Muslim students for prayers and programs.
The request was made Tuesday by the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) based in South Plainfield after a poster was found on a campus building with a silhouette of the Twin Towers against the American flag and the words “Imagine a Muslim-Free America.”
Under the image the poster said American Vanguard, a reference to an apparent white supremacist organization and the Twitter page address for American Vanguard that appears to have been suspended.
The poster has been reported to the university chancellor. Rutgers University police are investigating the incident, according to CAIR-NJ.
“The hatred and the implicit call for genocide targeting American Muslims exhibited in this poster must not be tolerated,” said James Sues, CAIR-NJ executive director. “All Americans must be able to practice their faith and worship as they choose without fear of harassment or intimidation. The diversity of the student body at Rutgers University has long been a source of pride and inspiration, and the university administration must not allow narrow-minded bigots to tarnish its reputation and intimidate its students.”
A Rutgers University-New Brunswick spokesperson said in an email statement that several members of the Rutgers University-New Brunswick community on Monday evening reported that they were offended and threatened by a flyer from American Vanguard posted at the Paul Robeson Cultural Center, which also serves as a prayer space on campus.
“Following our standard protocol, the Rutgers University Police Department responded and the flyer was removed. Details of the incident were immediately referred to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office for review,” the statement said. “The contents of the flyer, which was also posted elsewhere nationwide, violate the values and ideals for which Rutgers stands. We strongly condemn this kind of speech and are appalled that our Muslim community was targeted in this way.”
Sues said an identical poster had been found on the University of Texas campus.
According to Sues, CAIR has seen a spike in Islamophobic rhetoric and anti-Muslim incidents nationwide in recent months, particularly since the Nov. 8, 2016 election of Donald Trump as president.
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights group is asking Muslim community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420