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Breaking: Eid marred by vandalism on Rutgers campus

Windows were shattered and property destroyed at the Muslim Chaplaincy House.

Photo courtesy of Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University

The Rutgers University Police Department is investigating a burglary and bias crime at the Muslim Chaplaincy House on the main New Brunswick campus. The incident occurred as tensions have been rising among students amid a vote on divesting Rutgers University funds and interests from Israel.

Central Desi is following this breaking news story and will update this post on our website as we get more information.

As students and community members celebrated Eid and marked the end of Ramadan, the space where they frequently gather was vandalized, including the destruction of artwork, TVs, printers, windows and a Palestinian flag, according to a statement by Kaiser Aslam, the chaplain of the Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers.

This reprehensible act, occurring on our sacred day, is undoubtedly fueled by Islamophobia and is clearly a hate crime targeting our Muslim population at Rutgers,” Aslam said. “God is greater than acts of hate and we will continue to carry on.”

Photo courtesy of Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University

Tensions have been high on campus as students have been voting on referendums to divest the school’s investments in Israel—including weapons manufacturers and security companies—and dissolve its partnership with Tel Aviv University.

Pro-Palestinian activists have been staging “die ins” to draw attention to Israel’s actions in Gaza, which have killed more than 33,000 people, including nearly 14,000 children.

Jewish students at a recent university town hall told Fox News they have experienced intimidation on campus, such as people calling for a boycott of Israel or putting up flyers in favor of the referendum.

Yet a crime of this scale marks a new level of conflict on campus and raises concerns about rising Islamophobia in New Jersey—as well as the safety of students.

Photo courtesy of Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University

Following the burglary, Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway issued a statement calling it “a despicable act.”

“We must be better than this,” he said. “This act is an affront to our values as a community. Hate has no place at Rutgers. Islamophobia and all forms of intolerance come from a place of ignorance. They have no place in our hearts, in our minds, and at our university.”

Gov. Phil Murphy posted on Twitter/X that he was “disgusted” to learn of the crime.

“There is a criminal investigation underway and we are working with Rutgers and law enforcement to ensure the safety of our Muslim students,” he said. “Islamophobia has NO place in New Jersey.”

Rutgers Police Chief Kenneth Cop sent an alert about the crime through the department’s Facebook page, saying that the suspect or suspects used force to enter sometime overnight on Tuesday or Wednesday.

“The description of the perpetrator(s) is limited at this time,” he posted, asking anyone with information or who was in the area to contact the department’s detective bureau at (848) 932-8025.

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