Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro, along with two Muslim city residents, decried Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s claims that “thousands” cheered in Jersey City in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“I just want to condemn the remarks made by Donald Trump about the City of Jersey City, that were thousands of people who were cheering on 9/11,” Lavarro said to some light applause during last night’s meeting.
“But, that is the farthest thing from the truth. Here in Jersey City where we were an extension of the trioche relief efforts that were going on to assist the victims of 9/11.”
“And I can assure you that the people here in Jersey City mounted, as did our nation, on that day and that Muslims, Christians, Jewish and other faiths of, all here in Jersey City – living here at that time – we’re all shocked and in mourning.”
Mayor Steven Fulop went after Trump over the weekend for the same reason, exclaiming that Trump was “shamefully politicizing” the 9/11 attacks.
Jessica Berrocal Abdelnabbi, a Muslim Jersey City resident, said that in light of Trump’s comments, she was harassed by a man at a laundromat – who called her “a terrorist.”
“I’m actually standing here a little bit nervous. I started thinking about it and the negativity that was built in his head because of the stereotyping around the world. And the GOP statements added racism, bias and the bigotry that’s happening … that the people of Jersey City cheered during 9/11.”
Essma Bengabsia, another Muslim Jersey City resident, gave a heartfelt speech on the struggles her community is facing on a day to day basis, as well as why she considers herself just as American as anyone else.