January will be “Muslim Heritage Month” in New Jersey after Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a joint resolution (SJR-105/AJR-194).
Murphy, hosting an Eid celebration at Drumthwacket last month alongside First Lady Tammy Murphy, noted the designation was intended to highlight the many contributions to the state’s Muslim community.
“New Jersey greatly benefits from the patriotism, philanthropy, advocacy, civic engagement, business, and culture of Muslim Americans and Muslim American organizations in our state,” said Gov. Murphy.
Pennacchio Sponsored Legislation
“I am proud to designate January of each year as Muslim Heritage Month as it will shine a light on the rich histories, cultures, and shared principles of Muslim Americans,” said Murphy. “New Jersey takes great pride in its diversity and we will continue to recognize and celebrate the positive impact Muslims have made, and continue to make, to the advancement of this state.”
State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-26) served as a primary sponsor of the bill, and said the bill was designed to elevate awareness and appreciation of the Muslim American community within New Jersey.
Home to Highest Percentage of Muslim Residents
“There are nearly 300,000 Muslim Americans in this state, including numerous current and former elected officials dedicated to public service in their communities. It is long past time to recognize these individuals for their contributions to the diverse fabric of New Jersey,” he said.
New Jersey is home to the highest percentage of Muslim residents among the nation, and this population was increasingly subject to bias incidents, according to State Sen. Brian Stack (D-33).
“This designation will allow the State and its residents to respectfully acknowledge and promote awareness while appreciating and recognizing the many contributions of the State’s Muslim community,” said Stack, who also served as a primary sponsor of the bill.
Prospect Park Mayor Controversy
The new resolution in New Jersey came as Prospect Park Mayor Mohamed T. Khairullah was barred from attending the White House’s Eid al-Fitr event at the end of April. The U.S. Secret Service informed Khairullah he was not allowed to enter the White House for the event moments before he was set to arrive,
“Now for me to be denied entry into the people’s house is baffling. Why aren’t there checks and balances on these uncontrolled powers to put us on lists that are not admitted to, are essentially illegal and target Americans of certain backgrounds?” asked Khairullah.
A consortium of mayors throughout North Jersey, including Teaneck’s Mike Pagan, Woodland Park’s Keith Kazmark, Jersey City’s Steven Fulop, Prospect Park’s William Kubofick, Wayne’s Chris Vergano, Hoboken’s Ravi Bhalla, Little Falls’ James Damiano, North Haledon’s Randy George, Paterson’s Andre Sayegh of Paterson, Hawthorne’s John Lane, Hackensack’s John Labrosse, Jr. and Fair Lawn’s Kurt Peluso, wrote to the White House May 19 demanding an apology for his exclusion.