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N.J. state employee arrested, accused of ripping off Muslim woman’s hijab

NEWARK, N.J. - The mayor of New Jersey’s largest city is calling for state officials to fire a Department of Labor employee accused of pulling a Muslim woman’s hijab off her head and throwing it on the ground.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka says the unidentified Employment Services worker mocked a woman’s faith at the city’s One-Stop Career Center Dec. 5 before snatching her hijab.

Newark police arrested the employee and banned him from the business. reports the employee is a 67-year-old Brooklyn resident, and he’s facing harassment charges in connection with the incident.  

Baraka says that’s not enough. The mayor believes Essex County prosecutors should have charged the man with a hate crime. He’s asked U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman to investigate the incident.

A Department of Labor spokesman says the employee has been suspended without pay and the state agency is pursuing his termination in accordance with department policy.