PATERSON — After a recent vote to rename several blocks of the city’s Main Street “Palestine Way,” recognizing the deep-rooted Palestinian community there, at least one business has reported receiving harassing phone calls.

Dozens of local residents were excitedly in attendance as the effort was supported unanimously by the City Council at its March 29 meeting.

On Friday, the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations released a video of what appears to be portions of two racist, anonymous calls, harassing a Palestinian-owned small business in Paterson.

Palestine Hair Salon in Paterson received the calls “earlier this month,” according to the group's statement.

The anonymous caller refers to Palestinians as terrorists and thieves and says “you terrorists only fight women and children,” as heard in the clip shared to social media.

“It has to do with the fact that you terrorists stole everything from Israel” - an anonymous caller says in a second clip. “What is Islam? A cheap corruption of Judaism. What is Arabic? A cheap corruption of Hebrew,” the same caller says.

"These calls started shortly after the City Council voted on re-naming Main Street between Buffalo and Gould Ave ‘Palestine Way’ in recognition of the contributions that the Palestinian American community has given to Paterson,” Palestinian American Community Center Executive Director Rania Mustafa said in the statement.

“We do think the timing is not a coincidence, but a direct response. We must condemn and firmly stand against the erasure of any recognition of Palestine and the contributions of Palestinians,” Mustafa said.

“This harassment is a reminder of the deep-seated animus against Arabs and Muslims. Such a display of unabashed Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian hate must be firmly condemned by everyone who values humanity and its diversity,” CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said in the same written statement.

The resolution to rename a stretch of Main Street in Paterson as "Palestine Way" was voted on at the March 29 meeting, as seen around the 1:10 mark in the video below, posted to YouTube.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at

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