(Missouri Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens | AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
The small and malicious minds of some people is a phenomenon I will never understand…(ks)
A Missouri candidate for governor is raising money for his campaign by selling fake “ISIS hunting permits,” frustrating local Muslims who say the stickers perpetuate anti-Islam sentiment.
According to the Associated Press, Missouri Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens sent out a fundraising email last Wednesday offering up bumper stickers emblazoned with the words “ISIS HUNTING PERMIT 2016” and featuring an expiration date that ends when “we defeat this evil.” Greitens is reportedly selling the stickers for $10 each, although buyers who donate $100 can receive a tag signed by former Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill, who has claimed he killed international terrorist Osama bin Laden.
The stickers have proven wildly successful, and the campaign has stated that they are already sold out. But the local Islamic community is expressing fears that while the inflammatory rhetoric is directed at ISIS, it could embolden assaults on ordinary Muslims, especially in the wake of rising anti-Muslim sentiment that includes scores of attacks on Muslim Americans and their houses of worship.
“When [people] get a bumper sticker saying ‘Here’s your permit to attack ISIS,’ and they see a young Muslim lady at Wal-Mart, and they’re like, ‘This is ISIS, I’m going to attack them,’ that’s when the real trouble begins,” Faizen Syed, spokesperson for the Missouri chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told FOX 2 news.
Indeed, threats, violent assaults, protests, airport profiling, and instances of vandalism directed at the American Muslim community have risen in the wake of ISIS-affiliated terrorist attacks, even though the Muslim victims are not known to have any connection to the murderous group.
Several Islamic centers and houses of worship have been defaced with graffiti decrying ISIS over the past year, and in November 2015, a 6th-grade Muslim girl in New York was reportedly called “ISIS” by a group of boys, placed in a headlock, and punched while they attempted to forcibly remove her hijab. Similarly, a Bangladeshi man in New York was allegedly brutally beaten in January in front of his nine-year-old daughter by a group of teenage assailants, who reportedly shouted “ISIS! ISIS!” as they repeatedly kicked his body as he lay on the ground.
Greitens, a former Navy SEAL, insists he is not demonizing the broader Muslim community — just “radical islam.” He says the lack of clarity is due to lack of “strong leaders,” a possible reference to Republican outrage over President Barack Obama’s refusal to refer to ISIS and other terrorist groups as followers of “radical Islam.”
“As leaders, we need to be very clear: there is a difference between Islam and radical Islamic terrorism,” Greitens told FOX 2. “The reason there is confusion out there is that we don’t have strong leaders who are willing to identify this as a warped terrorist ideology.”
BY JACK JENKINS