NJ Politics Digest: In the Age of Trump, State Bucks Hate Crime Trend

Alleged inappropriate targeting by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents was among the top five types of anti-Muslim bias incidents cited in a report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

A report released Monday by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) warns of a disturbing trend of increased incidents targeting Muslims across the United States.

But, while the report cites a 17 percent increase in bias incidents across the United States, there is good news coming out of New Jersey, according to a NorthJersey.com report.

The report indicates that anti-Muslim bias incidents in the state actually decreased from 69 in 2016 to 57 in 2017.

James Sues, executive director of CAIR-NJ, however, wasn’t celebrating, telling the website that since most bias incidents are unreported, it’s hard to draw firm conclusions from the decreasing numbers.

The CAIR report, which claims to be the only one “of its kind, providing both hard numbers and real stories of impact on the lives of American Muslims,” blames a climate of “xenophobic rhetoric” and “bigotry” fostered by the Trump administration for “an increase in the onslaught of institutional and individual prejudice against American Muslims.”

The report cites a 17 percent increase in anti-Muslim bias incidents nationwide in 2017 over the previous year and a 15 percent increase in hate crimes targeting American Muslims.

“Of particular alarm,” the report said, “is the fact that federal government agencies instigated 35 percent of all anti-Muslim bias incidents recorded in 2017.”

The top five reported kinds of anti-Muslim bias incidents reported were harassment (14 percent), inappropriate targeting by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (13 percent), hate crimes (12 percent), inappropriate targeting by the FBI (10 percent) and employment discrimination (nine percent), according to the CAIR report.

A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, however, told NorthJersey.com that his agency “does not discriminate on the entry of foreign nationals to the United States based on religion, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.”

Quote of the Day: “This was an opportunity for him to again connect with the public, and he failed.” — Nicole Marengo, owner and president of Madison Art Consulting, on former Gov. Chris Christie not using a New Jersey artist or broker for his $85,000 official portrait.

Cory Booker’s New Bill Would Guarantee Jobs to Everyone in 15 Local Areas
U.S. senator and potential presidential candidate Cory Booker wants to give everyone who wants one a job in 15 local areas across the country.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

NJ Transit to Hire 40 Bus Drivers Under Phil Murphy’s Budget
Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Monday that New Jersey Transit plans to hire 40 more bus drivers to alleviate overcrowding and get buses to show up on time.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

CWA New Jersey Endorses Tom Malinowski for Congress
Democratic congressional candidate Tom Malinowski has picked up the endorsement of the Communication Workers of America New Jersey, one of the state’s largest public worker unions.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

Trump’s Travel Ban Fueled Spike in Bias Incidents Against Muslims, Says Group
Mosques were vandalized, women in hijabs were harassed and travelers were singled out for scrutiny at airports because of their faith amid a 17 percent spike in anti-Muslim bias incidents last year, according to a report released Monday the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The Record Read more

Was Toms River Biased Against Jews? Feds Close Investigation
Federal officials have ended their investigation into whether a New Jersey town’s zoning laws had religious bias and will not take any action against the municipality.
NJ101.5 Read more

Have Menendez’s Ethical Problems Hurt His Fundraising?
In his first filings since since the U.S. Justice Department dropped all corruption charges against him, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez raised far less money for his reelection than he did six years ago.
NJ.com Read more

A Crime-Fighting Force in NJ You Probably Never Heard Of
An elite law enforcement team that’s part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is hard at work in the Garden State. But chances are you never even heard of them.
NJ101.5 Read more

Port Authority Ethics Chairwoman Resigns After Intervening in Daughter’s Traffic Stop
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Ethics Committee Chairwoman Caren Turner has submitted her resignation to the bistate agency following a traffic stop involving her daughter.
Politico Read more

Lawmakers Want Overhaul of How NJ Treats Female Prisoners
New Jersey’s only women’s prison faces growing scrutiny over allegations of sexual abuse, but former inmates and their advocates say prisoners there face other daily indignities.
NJ.com Read more

NJ Hospital That Cut ER Use of Opioids Would Become a National Model, Under Proposed Law
A program that has cut emergency-room prescriptions for opioid painkillers in Paterson to less than a fifth of their previous level in two years could become a model for hospitals nationwide, if a bill proposed by New Jersey’s two senators and a congressman is passed.
The Record Read more

Stile: How the Trump Backlash Could Doom a ‘Safe’ NJ Republican
New Providence resident Bill Park wasn’t interested in kibitzing earlier this month with his local congressman, Leonard Lance, other than to share a few passing remarks about the lousy weather.
The Record Read more

Dems Who Have Scored Big Using Website for Small Donations
Democratic candidates for New Jersey’s House seats have raised far more money than Republicans through the first quarter of this year, with help from a fundraising platform that works for left-leaning candidates and causes.
NJSpotlight Read more

PSE&G Wants BPU to OK $1.5 Billion Plan to Upgrade Gas Pipelines
Public Service Electric & Gas has reached agreement with state regulators to spend $1.9 billion to replace much of its aging gas pipeline system under a deal that could be approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities as early as Wednesday.
NJSpotlight Read more

These 10 Agencies Collected Billions in Tolls From Drivers Last Year
Tolls are one of life’s annoying necessities, like paying the electric bill. For a select group of toll agencies, 2017 was a banner, billion dollar year.
NJ.com Read more

Christie’s $85K Portrait: It’s Not the Cost, It’s the Outsourcing, Art Consultant Laments
Nicole Marengo said she was in shock. “I cannot even believe what I am reading right now,” she said.
ROI-NJ Read more

Ex-Mayor Who Ripped Off Housing Authority to Give Himself Raise Gets 5 Years
The former mayor of a Mercer County town has been sentenced to five years in prison for stealing thousands of dollars and using the money to give himself a raise while he served as the executive director of Asbury Park Housing Authority.
NJ.com Read more

ICE Arrests 60 in NJ in 5-Day Enforcement Sweep
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 60 people last week in a sweep through New Jersey.
NJ.com Read more

Top NJ Lawmaker Blasts Jersey City for Teacher Contract; BOE Fires Back
One of the state’s top lawmakers is taking aim at the new contract for Jersey City teachers, calling the deal “irresponsible” and an “insult” to underfunded districts.
Jersey Journal Read more

Rutgers Prof Cleared of Harassment, but Mystery of Stain on Pants Remains
The accusations were damning. She said he gained her trust, then violated it by forcing her into a sexual relationship that left her emotionally unhinged. He vehemently denied every allegation and called himself the victim of her relentless stalking.
NJ.com Read more

No Jail for Ex-Camden Cop Who Got 15 Year Old Pregnant
A cop who is accused of fathering a child with a 15-year-old girl will avoid jail time.
NJ101.5 Read more

Editorial: Murphy Should Insist Legislature Fixes Bill for Nuclear Plants Subsidy
Gov. Phil Murphy seems to have painted himself into a corner on the issue of subsidizing the three nuclear generating plants in Salem County, soon to be the only ones left in New Jersey.
The Press of Atlantic City Read more

NJ Politics Digest: In the Age of Trump, State Bucks Hate Crime Trend