Clifton Police probe threats to Palestinian Center as hate crime
CLIFTON — Police have added security patrols at the Palestinian American Community Center after the staff reported receiving numerous phone threats on Tuesday to blow up the building and to physically and sexually attack people at the center.
Palestinian American Community Center Executive Director Rania Mustafa told NorthJersey.com his staff was shaken up by the threats to the center on Lakeview Avenue in Clifton.
The series of more than 30 calls from what appeared to be at least two different callers began around 11 a.m. and lasted until around 6 p.m., according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations in New Jersey, which said it has notified the FBI about the threats.
CAIR-NJ posted video to Youtube of a female staff member on speakerphone with the caller, who can be heard calling the woman a terrorist and saying he was near the center.
"I should go over there and beat your f***ing ass is what I should do," the unseen caller says in the video clip.
In a graphic transcript of another call, as shared by CAIR-NJ, an unidentified male tells a female staff member “I'm going to come rape you and give you a taste of your own medicine.”
Clifton Police said they are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
CAIR-NJ said the caller referred to the center as "the terrorist community center" and may have been upset by the recent tensions between Israel and Palestinians.
At times, the caller used a private number, blocking his location and name, while other calls showed up on the center's phone as being placed from Texas, according to CAIR-NJ.
CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut offered support for the center and for Palestinians in the most recent flareups of violence amid the conflict with Israel.
“Propaganda in support of Israeli apartheid and brutality that demonizes Palestinians provides fertile ground for anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim hatred here in America. This propaganda, adopted by some New Jersey elected officials, gives a false sense of entitlement to those -- like the racist caller --- who make violent threats against Palestinian community members," Maksut said. "This propaganda puts Palestinian and American Muslims at risk. It needs to be condemned and repudiated at every opportunity by elected officials and policymakers."
Amid an ongoing ceasefire, officials from Israel and Egypt met in both countries on Sunday to try and shore up a more permanent truce between Israel and Hamas and focus on rebuilding the Gaza Strip, as reported by the Associated Press.