Middlesex County News

South Brunswick: Muslim Rights Group Want Probe Of BOE Candidate’s Sign Vandalism

Board of Education member Azra Baig calls police about vandalism to her election signs in September. Credits: Charles W. Kim photo
Credits: Submitted photo
Credits: Submitted photo

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – A Muslim rights group is calling for a state or federal investigation relating to the vandalism of election signs belonging to Board of Education member Azra Baig.

In a press release Wednesday, the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) asked state and federal law enforcement to investigate graffiti left on several of her election lawn signs during the recent campaign.

Baig won her second three-year term on the board Tuesday.

Sign Up for E-News

Several lawn signs for Baig near South Brunswick High School on Ridge Road were vandalized between Sept. 26 and Oct. 21 while she ran for office.

Graffiti with slogans such as “ISIS sympathizer,” “ISIS” and “rag head,” were discovered on the signs during that time.

Baig said she immediately reported the incident to local police who said they are continuing to investigate the vandalism.

“This kind of hate speech serves to reinforce negative stereotypes and cast a shadow of suspicion and doubt over all Muslims”, CAIR-NJ Executive Director James Sues said in the release. “We urge state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate this incident as a possible hate crime.”

The incidents come during one of the most divisive and charged presidential election cycles in modern memory.

Republican Donald Trump, who won the office on Tuesday against Democrat Hillary Clinton, ran a controversial campaign that, among other things, called for a temporary ban on Muslims coming into the country until they can be thoroughly vetted due to terror attack concerns.

Clinton called the “Muslim ban” “Islamophobia” and racist.

“Unfortunately, these past months have seen a level of divisiveness and rancor that should be intolerable for anyone in a civilized society”, U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12, said in the release.  “There is no circumstance where we can be willing to accept the racism, sexism, xenophobia and religious intolerance that has permeated throughout this past election cycle.  Now, more than ever, we need to stand strong as one community and put aside our differences so that we may all do the hard work required to ensure an even brighter tomorrow for our country’s future generation.”

Mayor Frank Gambatese said that the incidents are not representative of the diverse township.

“I am extremely disappointed in what happened to Ms. Azra Baig’s campaign signs”, Gambatese said.  “We are very proud of Ms. Baig and her service to the community.  This is not who we are in South Brunswick.”

Baig also said that the incidents surprised her and are not the experience she has had living in the community and serving on the board.

“These criminal actions do not represent any part of the wonderful community of South Brunswick, NJ and the warmth and kindness of everyone I have had the pleasure of meeting with” Baig said.  “I am grateful to the community for their support of my re-election and I am grateful for the efforts of the South Brunswick Police Department for their efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Anyone with information about these incidents is urged to call the South Brunswick Police Department at 732-329-4000, extension7460.

(Editor’s Note: Azra Baig also freelances for TAPinto South Brunswick and Cranbury. We were also made aware of the vandalism early on by Baig, but decided not to publish any report until after the election on Tuesday.)

Did you like this story?

Give us your feedback at ckim@tapinto.net or nwells@tapinto.net and support local news.

If you did like it, please share with your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter, and don't forget to "Like" our Facebook Page!

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Holy Savior Cheerleading Squad Takes Season by 'Storm'

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Holy Savior Academy’s (HSA) ‘Biddy’ Cheerleading Squad, the Storm,  recently completed their 2017-2018 season with a first place win in their division at Cheerfest. Held May 12 at Six Flags Great Adventure, the annual multi-state competition featured teams from throughout New Jersey. 

“This cheer season has been such an ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.


Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...

New Jersey State Motor Vehicle Commission Returns to South Plainfield

May 21, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – A new state Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) opened its doors in South Plainfield on Monday, just one week shy of a year since the borough’s former agency closed its doors. The office, located at 5000 Hadley Road, will provide in-person services to residents of the borough and the surrounding communities six days a week. 

“I would like ...

Rutgers Center Battles Noise Pollution Nationwide

May 11, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ  - Eric Zwerling got a call this week from a man was living next to a fitness center, complaining he repeatedly heard the loud thud heavy free weights and medicine balls hit the floor.

The man was recovering from having a pace maker in his chest and wondering of the impact of the noise from the gym.

“I’ve received thousands of calls,” said Zwerling, ...

Janessa Mendoza Honored as Union Catholic's Scholar Athlete of the Year by the NJSIAA

May 22, 2018

Janessa Mendoza, who served as a co-captain on the girls basketball team and is the Student Council President at Union Catholic, was honored by the NJSIAA as Union Catholic's Scholar Athlete of the Year at a special banquet at the Pines Manor on Sunday.    

Mendoza, who lives in Edison and will attend Georgetown University, played guard on the UC basketball team ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...