Wed. May 29th, 2024

Man charged with hate crime in Rutgers Islamic center vandalism

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May28,2024

A New Jersey man was arrested and charged with a federal hate crime after allegedly breaking into and destroying property at the Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University (CILRU), federal prosecutors announced Monday.

Jacob Beacher, 24, was arrested Monday morning in connection with an incident that took place earlier this month during Eid-al-Fitr, the three-day Islamic holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.

Beacher is accused of breaking into CILRU overnight on April 10, and damaging the center’s property, including multiple religious artifacts and other items with holy language from the Qur’an, according to the complaint. The damaged items also included Turbah prayer stones.

Prosecutors allege Beacher stole a Palestinian flag and charity box from the center. The total damage equals about $40,000, prosecutors said.

Video surveillance footage from around 2:40 a.m. on April 10 allegedly shows Beacher “forcibly” entering the CILRU by breaking a glass pane on the door, pushing through plexiglass, and reaching through to unlatch the deadbolt lock, per the complaint. He was seen leaving the center around 25 minutes later.

Days later, two people told law enforcement they found a donation box belonging to the CILRU at a nearby park, and cell-site data showed Beacher’s phone in the proximity of the park shortly after the break-in, the complaint said.

He is charged with one count of intentional or attempted obstruction of religious practice and one count of making false statements to federal authorities. He was slated to have his initial court appearance on Monday afternoon in Newark, N.J.

“Rutgers condemns this act of violence against the Rutgers–New Brunswick Muslim community and the desecration of a religious and community space. Such acts of hatred and bigotry against anyone in our community have no place at Rutgers,” a spokesperson for Rutgers told The Hill. 

The spokesperson confirmed Beacher is not and has not been affiliated with the university. 

“We have been kept apprised of the investigation as it took place and we express a sense of relief and safety knowing that the suspect is in custody,” Atiya Aftab, the chair of CILRU, wrote in a statement.

“This act of terror will not intimidate or break our community,” the statement added. “We stand in firm faith and with resolve to redouble our efforts to the mission of our Center. This incident did not occur in a vacuum.”

The incident comes amid increasing tensions overflowing from the Middle East, where Israel’s war with Palestinian militant group Hamas has lasted more than six months in Gaza.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said earlier this month that last year marked a 30-year high for anti-Muslim complaints, which included a late-year surge around the time of Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks on Israel and the country’s subsequent bombardment of Gaza.

–Updated at 11:13 a.m. EDT

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “Man charged with hate crime in Rutgers Islamic center vandalism”
  1. It is deeply disturbing to see such acts of hatred and vandalism targeting a place of worship. This kind of behavior has no place in our society and must be condemned. I hope justice is served swiftly for the damage caused.

  2. Isn’t it concerning how someone could carry out such a hateful act during a holy celebration like Eid-al-Fitr? What kind of punishment should individuals like Jacob Beacher face for targeting religious institutions?

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