(ANAHEIM, CA, 2/1/19) – The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today called on gun store Ammo Bros to stop selling Islamophobic material displayed at its location in Santa Ana, Calif., that violate state civil rights laws and could promote violence against California Muslims.
The store sells bumper stickers and window decals with anti-Muslim sentiments such as “Infidels” and “Pork Eating Crusader.” Despite a letter from CAIR-LA’s civil rights department sent more than two weeks ago requesting the offensive items be removed, the stickers remain on sale.
In a letter dated Jan. 16, 2019, CAIR-LA Civil Rights Attorney Patricia Shnell wrote:
“These [stickers] each have the purpose of targeting Islam and expressing disdain and intolerance toward the religion. The context that these are displayed in a gun store is particularly problematic since the stickers serve to incite anti-Muslim sentiment and promote violence against Muslims. The targeting of individuals due to their religion is against both federal and state law. Illegal action that targets individuals due to religion, ethnicity or national origin qualifies as a hate crime.”
In 2017, Muslims were targeted in 13 percent of the reported hate crimes in Orange County, which was more than any other group, according to a report by the Orange County Human Relations Commission. According to the commission’s report, the percentage rose to 16 percent when combined with crimes against Middle Eastern individuals.
Shnell said Ammo Bros also is in violation of the California Bane Act, which protects individuals from threats, intimidation or coercion that interferes with their state or federal rights.
“Ammo Bros could be charged with violating the Bane Act if, for example, a Muslim entered the gun store to make a purchase, saw the stickers threatening Muslims with violence, and became intimidated and concerned for his or her safety so was forced to leave the store without making the intended purchase,” Shnell said. “Notably this would also violate the California Unruh Civil Rights Act which prohibits business establishments from discriminating against individuals because of their religion, among others.”
The sale of the bumper stickers and decals also violates California’s Ralph Act, which provides individuals with the right to be free of discriminatory violence and threats against them and their property. The Ralph Act penalizes any individual or entity who makes threats or incites violence against another person that is motivated by the victim’s religion or national origin, among other factors.
CAIR-LA demands Ammo Bros immediately remove all stickers, decals and other items displaying an anti-Muslim or Islamophobic sentiment from its store.
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims, immigrants and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.
CAIR-LA is Southern California’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice and empower American Muslims.
CONTACT: CAIR-LA Communications Coordinator Forrest Lee, 714-776-1847 or [email protected]