The country’s largest Muslim civil liberties organization is rallying to support a controversial Jewish religious boundary known as an eruv, which officials in two New Jersey towns have demanded be removed.
The New Jersey branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said local resistance to the boundary amounted to religious intolerance, NewJersey.com reported. The eruv is marked by small white PVC pipes fixed to utility poles and leadership in the Bergen County town of Mahwah says that the boundary violates local zoning law.
“In an era of legitimized racial and religious bigotry, the bigots have been emboldened,” said CAIR’s New Jersey Executive Director James Sues. “This is clearly a case of religious intolerance hiding behind a thin veil of barely-applicable local ordinances.”
This summer, a Hasidic group extended a 26-mile eruv from lower New York State into Mahwah and Upper Saddle River. The move has faced fierce resistance from the local community, though, with many worrying that the growing Orthodox population in areas like Monsey could spill over into their towns. Amidst the backlash, the eruv was reportedly vandalized in multiple locations, prompting Mahwah police to begin a hate crime investigation.
Sam Kestenbaum is a contributing editor and former staff writer for the Forward. Before this, he worked for The New York Times and newsrooms in Sana, Ramallah and Beijing. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum .
Controversial New Jersey Eruv Wins Backing From Muslims