Progress? Next NJ Legislature may include two Muslims, and author of anti-Islam posts

Shama Haider of Tenafly notched a milestone in New Jersey politics last week, becoming the first Muslim to win a seat in the state Legislature. Soon, she may not be alone in that historic feat: Sadaf Jaffer, the former Montgomery Township mayor, now leads in a close state Senate race in Central Jersey.  

Yet while Muslims cheered the groundbreaking rise of the two women, both Pakistani Americans, they also learned that another candidate surrounded by even more fanfare had written bigoted comments about Islam online.

Republican Ed Durr, who beat the powerful Democratic leader of the state Senate, denigrated the religion followed by more than 300,000 state residents as a “cult of hate” and “false religion” in social media comments that gained attention after his upset win. 

In New Jersey, home to more Muslims in elected office than any other state, Durr’s words sparked a storm, leading thetrucker from Gloucester County to apologize. He is scheduled to meet with Muslim leaders on Wednesday, said Jacqueline Vigilante, the Gloucester County GOP chair. 


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