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Friday, May 17, 2024

Man accused of vandalizing Rutgers Islamic Center on Eid

Jacob Beacher, 24, of North Plainfield, stands accused of vandalizing the Islamic center on the Muslim holiday of Eid-al-Fitr.

The Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University in New Brunswick became the target of a hate crime on April 10. Jacob Beacher, 24, of North Plainfield, stands accused of vandalizing the Islamic center on the Muslim holiday of Eid-al-Fitr. The break-in, occurring around 2:40 a.m., resulted in significant damage to the center’s property, including religious artifacts and items containing holy language from the Quran.

Federal Charges and Community Response

Federal prosecutors wasted no time in addressing the severity of the incident, charging Beacher with a hate crime. He faces counts of intentional obstruction of religious practice and making false statements to federal authorities. The estimated $40,000 worth of damage  highlights the gravity of the offense.

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Beacher’s denial of involvement, despite being captured on surveillance footage near the center, raises questions about the motive behind the vandalism. The lack of affiliation with Rutgers University further complicates the situation, leaving authorities and the community searching for answers.

The response from both the Rutgers community and beyond has been one of solidarity and support. The Islamic center received an outpouring of generosity and kindness following the incident, demonstrating the resilience and unity of those affected by such acts of bigotry.

Addressing Bias Incidents 

This incident comes at a time when bias incidents are on the rise in New Jersey, according to the state attorney general’s office. The spike in such incidents highlights the urgent need for increased awareness and action to combat hate crimes, particularly on college campuses.

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The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) has welcomed the charges against Beacher, emphasizing the broader issue of “bigoted violence” faced by Muslim, Palestinian, and allied students across the country. The vandalism at Rutgers serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing struggle against discrimination and intolerance.