For all the people who bite their fingernails fretting over Black History Month, I imagine they may not be receiving the news well that there is now established in New Jersey a Muslim Heritage Month.

Gov. Murphy signed into law a joint resolution proclaiming every January as Muslim Heritage Month from now on. But relax. You’re going to be just fine.

Oh, I can imagine those who still can’t separate radicalized Muslim terrorists from the far greater number of peace-loving Muslims will be complaining about this. I can hear the conspiratorial tones now. The same types who swear “thousands and thousands” of Muslims were cheering on rooftops in Jersey City (there weren't) as the World Trade Center collapsed on 9/11 will no doubt see a heritage month as something concerning.

Let me put your mind at ease. This proclamation does little more than simply recognize a significant Muslim population is part of the fabric of New Jersey. It’s not directing the state Department of Education to implement lessons for Muslim Heritage Month in our public schools. But honestly, so what if it did?

Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash
Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash

It’s merely a recognition that about 300,000 Muslims live and work and contribute to New Jersey, even in public service.

“As a state that has the highest percentage of Muslims in the nation, we are so overjoyed to have a month that celebrates and recognizes our community in a positive light and hope that this recognition further pushes the engagement of the Muslim community in society," said Zainab Syed, an organizer with American Muslims for Democracy.

Also, the joint resolution was a bi-partisan effort. The main senate sponsor was Sen. Joe Pennacchio. If it makes you feel any better, he’s a Republican.

I am extremely pleased that this was signed into law today and I would like to thank Senator Stack for joining me in sponsoring this legislation,” said Pennacchio. “There are nearly 300,000 Muslim Americans in New Jersey, including numerous current and former elected officials dedicated to public service in their communities. It is long past time to recognize our Muslim brothers and sisters for their contributions to the diverse fabric of New Jersey.

Muslims are the world’s second-largest religious group and account for 25% of the world’s population. There are 3.45 million Muslims in the United States and New Jersey is the state with the highest population percentage.


For anyone who is going to meet this news with predictable questions on why there isn't a White Christian Heritage Month, that's called every day.

KEEP READING: Scroll to see what the big headlines were the year you were born

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