Clifton Man Pleads Not Guilty to Throwing Firecrackers At Synagogue

A Clifton man who yelled Allah Akbar and threw firecrackers in front of a synagogue has pleaded not guilty. Rizek Musheisen a 21 year old city man, has pleaded not guilty to charges of bias intimidation. In April police arrested him for the act committed on the Ahavas Israel Synagogue in Passaic. The Passaic County Prosecutors Office put out an offer to Mr. Musheisen to enter a plea deal. He would serve 18 months for pleading guilty to one charge of bias intimidation. Musheisen s attorney has said that he will not accept the plea offer since his client should have reconciliation and understanding, and not punishment.

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:16-1 which is Bias Intimidation, Bias Intimidation involves a hate crime towards a group of individuals and attacking them for a variety of reasons, including their skin color, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity etc. In addition for any hate crime in New Jersey there must also be another charge involved. The sentencing for bias intimidation depends on the additional charge, and at that point it becomes a degree higher.

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