Minnesota has reportedly revoked a license plate that reads “FMUSLMS.” State officials apologized on Feb. 24 for issuing the controversial license plate.
Knowledge of the license plate emerged after a photo of the plate was shared on social media, reports The Huffington Post. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota reportedly directed the state Department of Public Safety to revoke the license plate.
“It is offensive, and the person who requested it should be ashamed. That prejudice has no place in Minnesota,” said Dayton.
State departments of motor vehicles deny many requests for custom license plates every year, reports Reuters. Some of the license plates deemed too offensive in the past include “ILVTOFU,” “TOILET” and “GAY.”
The Department of Public Safety issued a similar apology, saying, “This personalized license plate should never have been issued; it is offensive and distasteful. The Department of Public Safety apologizes for this error,” in a statement.
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told The Huffington Post the derogatory license plate is representative of a growing trend of Islamophobia in the U.S.
“Everyone has a right to be a bigot if they want to, but not on a state-issued license plate,” said Hooper.
Islamophobia-related incidents are reportedly on the rise in the U.S. as well as France and Germany, reports Al Jazeera America.
A tally kept by USA Today revealed dozens of instances of hate crimes and discrimination targeted at Muslims in the U.S. in December 2015.
CAIR representative Hooper says hate crimes against Muslims are at a record high.
“We quite literally haven’t had time to breathe. I don’t have a figure for number of attacks, but it’s unprecedented. And the other thing that’s unprecedented is the anti-Muslim bigotry has moved into the mainstream,” Hooper said.
“In previous spikes, like after 9/11, Islamophobia was on the fringes of society.”