Wayne Residents Respond to Arabic Sign on Packanack Lake Home


By Laura Lassen, Staff Writer

An Arabic sign hung above the door of a house near Packanack lake has sparked debate among Wayne residents, and an anonymous flier condemned the sign as “unAmerican.”

The sign, which reads “What God has willed. God bless” in Arabic, was given to homeowner Dr. Mahmoud Elsanaa and his family as a gift since the house is being remodeled.

In response to the sign, an anonymous, handwritten flier was sent to Packanack Lake residents and Mayor Chris Vergano, calling for a neighborhood meeting on March 27th.

“The mayor will be there to discuss the ‘unAmerican’ building on Lake Drive W. This structure will affect all of us. Already a realtor has stated her clients prefer not to see listings in Packanack,” the flier said. “Please ‘fly our flag’ proudly and attend the meeting.”

The mayor defended the family once receiving the flier and attending the meeting, which took place at the clubhouse in the neighborhood. “What’s wrong with ‘God bless’ on a sign? It doesn’t violate any municipal laws,” Vergano said.

Many residents have shown support for the family, including three Muslim women who stood outside the building during the meeting as “a symbol of acceptance in a community that once forbade outsiders,” according to an article from northjersey.com.

“I think it’s ridiculous how people care so much about something like that. In the end, what’s on someone else’s door doesn’t affect you and it wasn’t offensive,” said junior Jenna Boguslavsky.

The Packanack Lake community is continuing to support and welcome the family into the neighborhood.