Caller Harasses, Threatens Workers At New Jersey Palestinian-American Community Center

The Palestinian-American Community Center in Clifton is on high alert after receiving more than 30 threatening calls Tuesday; CBS2's Meg Baker reports.

Video Transcript

MARCUS DUBOIS: A Palestinian-American community center in Clifton is on high alert tonight after receiving more than 30 threatening calls on Tuesday.

KRISTINE JOHNSON: CBS 2's Meg Baker has more now on these frightening phone calls and also the response from local leaders.

11:50 the calls started. Can you stop calling this number, please?

- Yeah, you're a terrorist. There's blood on your hands.

ABIRE SABBAGH: I don't know who's told you this information.

MEG BAKER: Abire Sabbagh and her co-workers were bombarded with calls Tuesday from an unknown person making threats.

- I honestly sent people over there to beat your [bleep].

ABIRE SABBAGH: Very politically charged hate crimes, very sexist and misogynistic tone throughout the whole calls.

MEG BAKER: He called again around 5:45 PM 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.

- You guys aren't even a real country. Why don't you just blow a [bleep] building or something.

ASSAD AKHTER: I don't know of any incident of violence or real bias between Muslim and Jewish communities here at Passaic County, and we're very proud of that. Our communities might not always agree on every issue, especially this issue, but that does not ever mean that we resort to violence or intimidation.

MEG BAKER: 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,

RICHARD BERDNIK: We will not tolerate any type of hate crime, any type of threat or intimidation.

MEG BAKER: Paterson's mayor came from the neighboring city to show solidarity. Paterson is home to the largest Palestinian population in the country.

ANDRE SAYEGH: We can't allow justice here to be threatened. At a positive place where children are learning Arabic. They're learning to dance, the dabke, and the time when they received the bomb threat there were children here.

ABIRE SABBAGH: If Palestinians have taught us anything, it's how to be resilient and strong and courageous.

MEG BAKER: The workers say they will not be intimidated and that is why they showed up for work and will continue doing so. In Clifton, New Jersey, Meg Baker, "CBS 2 News".