NJ Transit Worker Fired For Burning Koran Gets His Job Back (VIDEO)

A New Jersey Transit worker who was fired after burning some pages of the Koran at the site of a proposed Islamic Center near Ground Zero will be getting his job back. According to the Star-Ledger, Derek Fenton of Bloomingdale, NJ, will be reassigned to his $86,110-a-year job, receive $25,000 for pain and suffering, and also get back pay equal to $331.20 for every day since his firing. Fenton’s action — which occurred at a protest about the Islamic center on September 11, 2010, the ninth anniversary of 9/11 — “sparked a national firestorm” and condemnation from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Fenton, will be paid $25,000 in legal fees by the state of New Jersey.

Last September, Fenton was part of a 2,000-people-protest at the Ground Zero site in lower Manhattan; participants said that building the proposed Islamic center so close to the former World Trade Center site “makes its construction insensitive to 9/11 victims’ families.” Supporters of the site have defended it “on the basis of religion freedom.” Fenton burned about three pages of the Koran with a cigarette lighter before he was escorted from the site by New York police but not arrested. He was off-duty at the time of the incident and was not wearing his NJ Transit. He was fired, the New York Times says, for violating New Jersey Transit’s employee code of ethics.

The video below shows Fenton using a cigarette lighter to burn pages of the Koran that he has torn out of a book as people watch and take photos and videos.

The Star-Ledger notes that Christie publicly supported Fenton’s firing:

In February, Christie said he didn’t ask for the dismissal but called it appropriate because “that kind of intolerance is … unacceptable.”

“I knew he was going to be fired, and I had no problem with it,” Christie said at the time. “And I still don’t have a problem with it.”

As the ACLU’s lawsuit got underway, the governor and several ranking officials from his office were named as potential witnesses with knowledge of the firing.

“The governor’s thoughts are misguided and un-American,” [Deborah Jacobs, Executive Director of the NJ ACLU] said. “What makes us special as a nation is the First Amendment.”

The New York Times reports that Ibrahim Hooper, the spokesman for a Muslim civil rights group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that his group had not sought Fenton’s firing:

“We have always believed that somebody should not be punished in their employment for actions taken — no matter how reprehensible — in their private lives.”

Fenton, who has worked for NJ Transit for eleven years, also obtained an assurance that, in order to return to work, he will not have to undergo additional “cultural sensitivity” training beyond what other NJ Transit employees are required to do.

According to Fenton’s lawyer, Frank L. Corrado, it was not known “whether his action was prompted by the last-minute decision of a pastor, Terry Jones, to scrap plans to burn a Koran that day outside his Florida church.”

Related Care2 Coverage

Breaking: Terry Jones Sent To Jail For Refusing To Pay $1 Bond

UPDATE: Terry Jones Burns The Koran – And Provokes Hundreds Of Care2 Member Responses

At Least 12 UN Staff Dead After Terry Jones Burns Koran – VIDEO


Photo of the Koran by roel1943


anne C.
anne C6 years ago

And if people want to burn a Quran, a Bible, Mein Kampf, a book of Grimms Fairy Tales, or Harry Potter, that is their right!! but only Islam will KILL you for doing it..Just look at all the threats of violence, the riots from " peaceful" muslims in muslim countries where the religion of peace has the majority... how pathetic

anne C.
anne C6 years ago

This morning I prayed not only for the victims of 9/11 but for all the persecuted minorities slaughtered, beheaded, enslaved ( Sudan) tortured, driven from their burning homes,( Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya,Malaysia, Phillipines, Thailand, India, Pakistan,and the list goes on) living in refugee camps to escape the arab muslim Imperialist mujahadin , from neighbouring muslim countries, waging religious and ethnic cleansing in the name of their prophet...and his god

Lynn Mitchell
Lynn Mitchell6 years ago

I agree a 100% with tom edgar !!!!! freedom to say what u will is 1 thing, but to act in a bad behavior is another !!! Freedom comes with a price worth remembering, its called responsibility when we have let the responsibility fly out the window, we loose our rights, because we start to break the law, so on and so forth !!!! a few 200 people being stupid will, cause the rest of us to loose rights !!!!.

Tom Edgar
Tom Edgar6 years ago

There is nothing wrong inherently with burning a Playboy, Bible, Koran etc., They are only books. The wrong is the intent. The intent to deliberate antagonise or hurt and denigrate.
One should be able to make any comment as long as it is truthful, honestly held, and is not motivated malevolently.

For several years I have had a Book of Mormon propping up one side of an old refrigerator in the barn. The only intent there was to level the appliance.Which was of more benefit than the previous owner enjoyed. I haven't ever mentioned let alone published this before because, for me, it was a non event.

There are many people who have,both privately and publicly,condemned me for being an atheist and I have even be told I shouldn't say I was publicly, by those who have no compunction about advertising their own meeting times.

It is this hypocrisy of Christians and Muslims alike that is really at odds with their claims for "Protection" of the law from
factual comments regarding their faiths. Protection for and from differing believers and a conjoined protection from what they construe as blasphemous statements from non believers whilst retaining the same rights to condemn those with whom they differ...HYPOCRITES.

Patricia S.
Pat S6 years ago

Send a Green Star to Emanuel v.

Sending a Green Star is a simple way to say "Thank you"

You cannot currently send a star to Emanuel because you have done so within the last week.

Jerry t.
Jerold t6 years ago

GOOD LORD! Save me from your zombie zealots!
I suppose a good old fashioned bible burning would'nt upset anyone.

Ernie Miller
william Miller6 years ago

As a writer I think it is wrong for any book to be burned However I believe that he has the right to do so as long as he is the owner. People need to quit being such thin skinned and buck up when something happens they dont think is right. He has the right of free speach even if you dont like what he says or does.

Patti Tray
P T6 years ago

WOW-What Comments! You know, I'm a White Christian American Woman, and I am Appalled at ALL of Humanity.
I guess some of you think it's OK to dress in white & burn crosses too!
Why are we SO quick to play judge, jury, & executor when someone burns a Bible or an American Flag, yet WE have the Right to do it to others?
Is this the land of...Do as we say, not what we do!?!
AND...Why in the H**L did he receive a Settlement?? Did I miss something here?
just saying

John B.
John B6 years ago

The fellow is an idiot. Trying to show himself off as a big man burning a few pages of a Koran -pretty tough stunt when you are surrounding by a throng of nut jobs. In my day we called such people cowards.
I see it as a freedom of speech issue, of which even morons have the right to speak. However, if he was in violation of the NJ transit articles, to which he agreed to adhere, how come this nut has his job back?
If he believes in his actions have his employment conditional on going to Tehran, Baghdad or any other Muslim city and burning a Koran.

Helen Delahunt-Avila
Helen Avila6 years ago

morons never cease to amaze.. now a city of moronic leaders...