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“This is not my Edison”: Edison Township Council President, Vice President, and Council Members condemn anti-Muslim display at Indian Independence Day para
By Adam Rizvi, EDISON, NJ – The Edison township council held a meeting on Monday, Aug. 22 at which many elected officials, who were present at the parade, denounced the spectacle of a bulldozer during the Indian Independence Day celebration last weekend.
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Several members of the Indian-Muslim community in Edison as well as representatives from Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC-NJ), American Muslims for Democracy (AMD), Council on American Islamic Relations-New Jersey (CAIR-NJ), and Edison’s Human Relations Commission appeared at the meeting to voice their concerns regarding the symbol of Muslim hate at the parade.
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A bulldozer with a portrait of Yogi Adityanath, the Hindu nationalist chief minister of the state of Uttar Pradesh, was part of the march on Aug. 14, referring to his inhumane use of bulldozers to destroy Muslim and Christian houses, businesses, and places of worship. Also included in the parade was Sambit Patra, who was the Grand Marshall of the India Day parade. He is the spokesperson of the divisive political party BJPin India, and is known to spew hate and further the mission of the RSS ideology; which is hate and oppression of the minorities such as Lower Caste Hindus(Dalits), Christians and specifically Muslims in India.
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“This is clearly giving a message of intimidation to American Indian Muslims and other minorities saying ‘We are here, we are in control and you can’t do anything, even in America,” said Dylan Terpstra, operations coordinator at CAIR-NJ.
At the meeting, Terpstra drew a comparison on how the bulldozer served to fear monger Muslims the same way the Black community faced intimidation with the symbol of the noose throughout history, which struck a chord with Council Vice President Joyce Ship-Freeman.
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“Had it been the noose, would we all have been walking behind it and following it? No,” Ship-Freeman voiced. “This is not the Edison we should accept. We should all stand out against it because if it’s on one group today, it will be on another group tomorrow.”
Ship-Freeman also spoke directly to the organizers of the parade, reputed to be the Indian Business Association, demanding them to come forward and take responsibility.
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Joseph A. Coyle, Council President of Edison, also voiced his disgust with the acts that took place on Aug. 14, acknowledging the divisive international politics is causing in Edison and expressing reproach for the parade from all parties.
Curated by Humra Kidwai