Society

Anti-Muslim Sign Outside Restaurant Stirs Controversy

| by Michael Howard
Sign in front of Treats Family RestaurantSign in front of Treats Family Restaurant

A sign posted by the owner of a Minnesota restaurant in response to the recent terrorist attack in St. Cloud has generated controversy and led to protests.

"Muslims Get Out," the sign reads. On the following line it says, "In Support of St. Cloud." St. Cloud was the site of a Sept. 17 terrorist attack in which a man went around a mall asking shoppers if they were Muslim before stabbing them, according to CBS News.

The sign is situated near the road in front of Treats Family Restaurant in Lonsdale. In response, a small group of people gathered outside the establishment Sept. 19 to protest what they feel is an example of anti-Muslim bigotry.

"I do not agree with their sign," protestor Payten Estepp told the Lonsdale News Review. "It's not Muslims, it's ISIS. That's blaming a whole group for something one person did. I saw a picture of the sign on Facebook and thought, 'That's not OK.'"

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"I've lived here for 24 years and that sign is the exact opposite of the family values that restaurant claims to have," another protestor, Samantha Wilson, told the news agency. "I believe in freedom of speech but stereotyping based on religion is ridiculous."

Meanwhile, restaurant owner Dan Ruedinger insisted that his sign is a message to Muslim extremists -- not Muslims in general.

"I am not talking about the Muslim population in general," he told KARE. "I am talking about the Muslim extremists. I am sure there are far more good Muslims than there are bad, just like there is with any other race. The only reason I didn't put extremists on the board is because I didn't have room on the board for it."

Speaking to CBS News, Ruedinger emphasized that he is within his rights to post the sign and added that he has no plans to take it down.

"It’s time that people started standing up, not worrying about the PC crowd and do what is right," he said. "And I feel what we’re doing is right. We are not targeting the Muslims in general, just the extremists. And that’s all I can say. It’s my right and I’m going to stand up, and I wish more people would do it."

Tim Rud, the mayor of Lonsdale, stated that while he does not personally agree with the sign's message, he respects Ruedinger's right to free speech, according to KARE. He also said the sign complies with city ordinances.

Sources: KARE, CBS News, Lonsdale News Review / Photo credit: KARE

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