An Oklahoma business selling guns and survival gear has become the latest to display a sign in its window claiming to be a “Muslim free establishment,” triggering widespread protests.
Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gear, located in Oktaha, allegedly took the measure after last month’s shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, according to Chad Neal, the store manager.
“Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gear and Gun Range is now a Muslim free business. We will not support or condone those who hate our country. We love our country and want our fellow Americans to know we do not tolerate terrorism. They have come to our home and attacked us on our soil,” the store said in a post on its Facebook page, according to OKC Fox.
The sign also reads “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone,” a phrase used by businesses in the south during the Jim Crow era.
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“It is sad to see an Oklahoma business join the clearly illegal movement to deny service to American Muslims, and it is equally sad to note the silence of our government on this denial of religious freedom and equal access to public accommodations,” said Veronica Laziure, civil rights director of the Oklahoma branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), according to PR Newswire. “As a nation, we rightfully moved past 'whites only' businesses, but our national leaders seem unwilling to challenge 'Muslim-free' public facilities.”
The phenomenon of businesses declaring themselves Muslim free zones is growing, with establishments in New York, Kentucky, Florida, Arkansas and New Hampshire having done so.
“We ask Americans who support constitutional rights to contact the businesses that announce these segregationist policies and urge their owners to follow the law by serving customers of all faiths and backgrounds,” Adam Soltani, Executive Director of CAIR Oklahoma, said.
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“If the ideas of public segregation and second-class citizenship belong anywhere, they belong in the past. Whether a business's policy is 'no coloreds' or 'no Muslims,' it is making the same choice to put hate and ignorance ahead of traditional American values like freedom and equality. It is important that we as citizens speak out against the growing movement to resurrect Jim Crow,” said Brady Henderson, with the American Civil Liberties Union.
Neal has no plans to remove the sign from the store.