‘Muslim mayor bans Christmas?!’ Snopes fact-checks Jersey
I'm a fan of the debunking site Snopes.com. Among many things I appreciate is the fact that when they can't definitively prove something true or false they admit that and leave it at undetermined. I was curious what Jersey legends one might find on Snopes and how they checked out. Here are just a few.
Pennsylvania bans New Jersey drivers
Now doesn't this sound like it should be the other way around? How many times is the car in front of you going under the speed limit in the left lane on 78 sporting a Pennsylvania license plate? Am I right? Well this story about Pennsylvania having once banned New Jersey drivers is as fake as they come.
New Jersey once banned Halloween because of Ebola
This goes back to three days before Halloween of 2014. While it was true that Gov. Christie was dealing with an Ebola scare at the time and was wrapped up in some controversy with some quarantine and travel restrictions, there was no truth to canceling Halloween.
A brutal buck fifty gang initiation
Gang initiations have been the stuff of urban legend for some time. A classic one that may have had roots in Los Angeles was that gangsters would drive around at night with headlights off, and when a good Samaritan would flash theirs to let them know the gangsters would open fire on them and kill them. This one was believed for quite some time. People were warned not to flash your lights at anyone with their headlights off.
Story had it that here in New Jersey was that to get into a gang the would-be gangster would have to confront an innocent person and give them "a buck fifty," which meant slicing their face open with a knife from ear to mouth. Stories talked about victims needing 100 stitches is more for these horrific wounds. It never happened.
A Muslim mayor banned Christmas
A Muslim mayor banning Christmas? Well, at least the word Christmas? Outrage! Except it never happened. The urban legend was that a Muslim mayor of Hoboken, Ravi Bhalla, decreed in December of 2017 that the word Christmas shall not be stated at government events.
A few problems with the story. Bhalla is Sikh, not Muslim. Also, he was not yet mayor. He had been elected but didn't take over the office until January. And not only did Ravi Bhalla not ban the word Christmas, he used it himself on social media wishing people a "Merry Christmas."
More from New Jersey 101.5