CLIFTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The Palestinian-American Community Center in Clifton is on high alert after receiving more than 30 threatening calls Tuesday.
The center’s community engagement coordinator, Abire Sabbagh, says the calls started just before noon.READ MORE: Primary Election Day Guide For Voters In New York
In a video, an employee can be heard saying, “Can you stop calling this number, please?”
The caller says, “Yeah, you’re a terrorist. You have blood on your hands.”
“I don’t know who has told you this information,” the employee says.
Sabbagh and her co-workers were bombarded with calls Tuesday from an unknown person making threats.
“I honestly should go over there and beat your ******,” the caller said.
“Very politically charged, hate crimes, very sexist and misogynistic tone throughout the whole calls,” Sabbagh told CBS2’s Meg Baker.
He called again around 5:45 p.m., saying he was going to come over to the center and bomb it. Sabbagh says the man was apparently unnerved by recent tensions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.READ MORE: NYC Mayoral Candidates Make Last-Minute Push For Votes Ahead Of Tuesday's Primary
“You guys aren’t even a real country. Why don’t you should go blow up a f****** building or something?” the caller said.
“I don’t know of any incident of violence or real bias between Muslim and Jewish communities here in Passaic County, and we’re very proud of that. Our communities might not always agree, especially this issue, but that does not ever mean that we resort to violence or intimidation,” Passaic County Commissioner Assad Akhter said.
A police officer has been outside the Palestinian-American Community Center since the incidents were reported. The prosecutor’s office is now handling the investigation.
“We will not tolerate any type of hate crime, any type of threat or intimidation,” Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik said.
Paterson’s mayor, Andre Sayegh, came from the neighboring city to show solidarity. Paterson is home to the largest Palestinian population in the country.
“We can’t allow justice here to be threatened at a positive place where children are learning Arabic, they’re learning the dance, the Dabke … and at the time of the threat, there were children here,” Sayegh said.
“If Palestinians have taught us anything, it’s how to be resilient and strong and courageous,” Sabbagh said.
The workers say they will not be intimidated, and that is why they showed up for work Wednesday and will continue doing so.MORE NEWS: More Violence On Subways: Police Say Tourist Hit With Bottle, Man Slashed In Separate Attacks
CBS2’s Meg Baker contributed to this report.