🔴 Rutgers police are investigating a burglary at the campus Center for Islamic Life

🔴 They are calling it a bias crime

🔴 It happened as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan came to an end

NEW BRUNSWICK — Rutgers University police are investigating an overnight burglary, which they refer to as bias crime, within the Center for Islamic Life on the New Brunswick campus.

The burglary occurred through forced entry around 4:34 a.m. at the center, located at 122 College Ave., according to police.

Once inside the unoccupied building, the perpetrators caused damage to several items of value, they said.

The break-in happened on Eid al-Fitr, the Islamic holiday commemorating the end of the holy month of Ramadan observed by Muslims through fasting, prayer, reflection and community.

It also came less than a week after pro-Palestininan students and activists disrupted a town hall, forcing the university's president and Jewish students to flee the campus hall under police protection.

During the confrontation, the pro-Palestinian crowd accused President Jonathan Holloway of supporting genocide and made chants supporting a global "intifada," or an uprising against Israel vis-a-vis the Middle Eastern nation's conflict with Palestinian territories.

Rutgers Students for Justice in Palestine

According to the Rutgers Students for Justice in Palestine, art pieces with Quranic verses were destroyed, a Palestinian flag was ripped off its pole, windows were shattered, TVs were vandalized, and printers were broken.

"This is a clear threat to the Muslim and Arab student body, and a pathetic act of cowardice. Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian racism, and all types of oppression are interconnected. We are heartbroken that this happened in a place that holds so much meaning for our community and has been such a strong support, and a space of comfort in our efforts for justice and liberation. We stand prepared to assist in any way that CILRU needs," the Students for Justice in Palestine said in a statement.

The group went on to say that Rutgers has consistently dismissed their concerns about violence.

"Let us not forget President Holloway's incompetence in acknowledging that our safety is compromised by those who falsely accuse us of being a threat, a label we reject and will never embody. The time of this attack, at the end of the month of Ramadan and the night of Eid, is not a coincidence," the group said.

Despite these challenges, the group promised not to let this ruin their Eid celebrations. While material objects can be replaced, they said their spirit cannot be shaken. They also encouraged everyone to fill out bias reports if they witness or experience any form of discrimination or hate.

New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin

New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin issued a statement about the burglary.

“I have been made aware of the appalling incident that took place last night at the Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. As the world’s Muslim community began the celebration of Eid, ending Ramadan, our Rutgers community endured a terrible assault on an important place of gathering for Muslims on campus,” Platkin said.

His office is collaborating with Rutgers police, the New Jersey State Police, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Division of Criminal Justice, and the Division on Civil Rights to investigate the matter.

The State AG’s office has been in direct contact with Muslim leaders across the state to let them know they have New Jersey’s full and unwavering support, he said.

“Let me be clear. New Jersey will not tolerate acts of hate against the Muslim community. We will continue to work tirelessly, using every tool at our disposal to ensure that all New Jerseyans live without fear, knowing that our state’s diversity is supported, protected, and embraced,” Platkin stated.

Gov. Phil Murphy

taking to X

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

The Rutgers University Police Department asks that anyone with information, or who may have been in the area at the time, contact the RUPD’s Detective Bureau at 848-932-8025.

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