The mayor of a Texas town has called for Homeland Security and FBI officials to get involved following the discovery of an Arabic flag on a building which read “love for all.”
The discovery was made in Lubbock the day after Valentine’s Day, media reports say.
“It has been brought to my attention that an Arabic flag has been hung from one of the upper floors of the Omni building,” Mayor Glen Robertson wrote in a letter to a city official, according to KCBD. “I am requesting that the flag be removed immediately, that we get an accurate translation of the flag, and that Chief Stevens notify the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and our Lubbock County Sheriff's Department. I am also requesting that we take whatever steps are necessary to secure the building and ensure that this does not happen again.”
The mayor added he wished to avoid a “knee jerk reaction” before all details were known.
Local Arabic-speaking residents quickly confirmed the flag did not contain any kind of threatening message.
“Literally translated, it says ‘love is for all’,” Hasan Almekdash told Lubbock Online.
As well as the white text on a black background, the flag also displayed a red heart.
“Those people wanted to express their feelings for other people,” Mazen Sabouni, a Syrian now living in Lubbock, said to KCBD. “Identify yourselves and we will be happy to know who are you and why you love us and why to express yourself in that way.”
The Omni Building where the flag was hung is dilapidated and currently the subject of renovation plans by the city. Officials said there was no damage done to the building by the flag’s presence.
Vehicles were temporarily stopped on a nearby highway, and city officials removed the flag at around noon Feb. 15.
Lubbock Councilman Victor Hernandez said the main issue with the incident was that it was a criminal trespassing case.
“Even though the message seems to be innocuous and well-meaning,” Hernandez added to Lubbock Online, “that was not the best way to go about spreading the message.”
Investigations are still ongoing and nobody has yet been identified as being responsible for putting up the flag.