December 20, 2023

Council’s Anti-Islamophobia Resolution Follows Measure Against Antisemitism

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton Council has unanimously approved a resolution denouncing and condemning Islamophobia, following the endorsement of a resolution condemning antisemitism adopted earlier this year.

“We appreciate that both resolutions have been put on Council’s agenda this year,” said Nick DiDomizio, a member of the Princeton Civil Rights Commission (CRC), which drafted the resolutions. “The timing could not have been more critical.”

Speaking at the December 11 Council meeting, DiDomizio emphasized the “overlap with global events” in acknowledging “the grief and trauma in the wake of the [October 7] attack in Gaza.” He went on, “We know there’s high sensitivity with the timing in passing this resolution.”

Emphasizing the importance of “creating a community that rejects hatred in all its forms,” DiDomizio stated, “We stand in solidarity with the many local residents who are suffering with the escalation of this conflict,” and “we mourn with those who have lost family and friends, and we plead for the speedy return of the hostages.”

The six-page resolution cites evidence throughout the country of “pervasive, systemic, institutionalized” Islamophobia, particularly in the post-9/11 era, then in the Trump era, and in the aftermath of October 7, 2023. It points out widespread discrimination in the U.S. against Muslims, including children.

The resolution goes on to state that the municipality will ensure that educational resources on Islamophobia are available, that local organizations will host community education programming on Islamophobic discrimination and how to address it, and will cultivate “an inclusive, safe, and just society and culture that values the diversity of our community, works to ensure equitable opportunities in all facets of society, and celebrates both our individuality and commonality.”

In a “statement of commitment” Council added, “We urge members of our community to treat one another with respect and care and to be mindful that many members of our community are experiencing trauma at this time. We want to assure our community that the Princeton Police Department is in daily contact with our faith communities and educational institutions to ensure the safety of all Princetonians.”

Afsheen Shamsi, a Princeton resident, Muslim community leader, and social justice advocate, also addressed the Council in speaking in support of the resolution. She noted the pervasiveness of Islamophobia in the U.S. and the recent “exponential increase in hate crimes and bias events against Muslims.”

Shamsi called on Council to “act against this rising tide of Islamophobia by voting ‘yes’ to support this resolution and to condemn and combat Islamophobia.” She continued, “Will you join me and my people in speaking up against hate, against injustice, against Islamophobia?”

DiDomizio stressed the need for the community’s “unwavering commitment to stand against antisemitism and Islamophobia.” He noted, “Islamophobia, like any form of discrimination, has no place in Princeton.”

Council members thanked the speakers and the CRC for their work and their support of the resolution. “These are critically difficult times in the world that we live in,” said Councilman Leighton Newlin. “My hope is that we do all we can as a community, as a nation, and as a world to bring about greater peace and understanding in all that we do everywhere.”