According to the national media, New Jersey lawmakers hope to pass a bipartisan resolution recognizing January as Muslim Heritage Month statewide.
Lawmakers say the goal is to increase awareness and appreciation of Muslim American communities in New Jersey.
The bill is backed by state Sen. Joe Pennacchio.
“This is an important thing we can do to show our Muslim friends camaraderie and gratitude for their contributions,” Republican Senator Joseph Pennacchio said. “This is just a resolution recognizing … all the things that this community has done,” Pennacchio said.
The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) testified on behalf of the new legislation.
“If the state of New Jersey truly takes great pride in the religious and cultural diversity of its residents, it is critical to passing Senate Joint Resolution, SJR-105, which would recognize our large community in the state,” says Madina Ouedraogo, government affairs manager for CAIR-NJ.
CAIR says it hopes the new bill can bring more awareness to the rise of anti-Muslim incidents in New Jersey.
According to Dina Sayedahmed, communications manager for the New Jersey section of the CAIR, hate incidents against Muslims have increased in New Jersey.
She added that her office has recently received more than 160 calls for help and hopes this will help reduce the number of hate incidents against Muslims.
If New Jersey approves the resolution, the state will be the only state, along with Utah, Washington, and Illinois, to recognize January as a month celebrating Muslim American heritage.