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Man Charged With Hate Crimes After Vandalizing Rutgers Islamic Life Center

A 24-year-old man faces federal hate crime charges following a break-in and vandalism at Rutgers University’s Center for Islamic Life, an incident occurring during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. 

Jacob Beacher, the accused, is alleged to have unlawfully entered the New Brunswick, New Jersey, campus facility on April 10. 

During the break-in, Beacher reportedly damaged several religious items, including Turbah prayer stones and art containing Quranic verses, and stole a charity box along with a Palestinian flag. 

Federal investigators identified Beacher, who has no ties to the university, using surveillance footage and cellular location data. 

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Credits: DepositPhotos

Upon questioning on April 12, Beacher confirmed he was near the center at the time of the incident but denied involvement in the break-in. 

The vandalism left the Muslim campus community in a state of distress, with some expressing feelings of fear and vulnerability regarding their safety on campus. 

Federal prosecutors have charged Beacher with one count of intentionally obstructing religious practice and one count of making false statements to federal authorities. 

He is currently awaiting his arraignment in Newark federal court, and there are additional pending state-level charges. 

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Credit: DepositPhotos

The charity box was later recovered in a nearby park, as stated in the criminal complaint. 

In the aftermath, the Islamic center at Rutgers received financial contributions for the restoration of the damaged items, reflecting a supportive response from both the university and the wider community. 

In a statement on Facebook, the center expressed gratitude for the community’s solidarity and generosity. 

Moreover, it highlighted the broader context of increasing anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian sentiment, attributing such acts of vandalism to the spread of misinformation and bigotry within the campus environment. 

The center’s administrators also acknowledged the swift response of law enforcement agencies in addressing the incident, underscoring the importance of community and institutional support in combating hate crimes. 

As this case progresses through the legal system, it serves as a poignant reminder of the challenges faced by religious and ethnic minorities and the ongoing need for vigilance against acts of hate and discrimination.

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