Six different campaign signs for Azra Baig, a nurse and school board official in New Jersey, were vandalized with the words “rag head,” “ISIS” and “ISIS sympathizer.” Her lawn signs were tagged with these hateful words between Sep. 26 and Oct. 21.
Since no arrests have yet been made by South Brunswick Police, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in New Jersey is calling upon state and federal law enforcement to probe the graffiti as a possible hate crime.
James Sues, the executive director of CAIR’s New Jersey chapter said, “This kind of hate speech serves to reinforce negative stereotypes and casts a shadow of suspicion and doubt over all Muslims.”
Baig was successfully re-elected into office to serve on one of three vacant seats as a member of the South Brunswick Board of Education, and is known to be a “pillar of the community” among her peers.
Of the incidents, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman highlighted how such examples of hate speech have become commonplace, but that doesn’t mean that communities have to accept it.
“Unfortunately, these past months have seen a level of divisiveness and rancor that should be intolerable for anyone in a civilized society,” Coleman said. “There is no circumstance where we can be willing to accept the racism, sexism, xenophobia, and religious intolerance that has permeated throughout this past election cycle.”
It is truly disheartening to see public leaders such as Baig be targeted with hate speech when she commits so much of her time to being a community activist. At a time when the nation is seemingly polarized into opposing political outlooks, residents must now come together to work towards a goal of unity rather than contribute to its division.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters