“Muslim-Free Zones” Constitutionally Upheld
The number of gun stores and shooting ranges declaring themselves “Muslim-free zones” appears to have accelerated since last month’s shooting deaths of five U.S. service members in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
At least four U.S. gun shops have posted signs banning Muslims since the July 16 attacks, which authorities said were committed by a 24-year-old Chattanooga Muslim with a history of drug abuse and mental health problems. He was shot to death by law enforcement.
Just this week, a gun store in Oklahoma was reported to have posted a sign in its window banning Muslims.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the businesses for possible civil rights violations.
“These bigoted declarations are no different than ‘whites only’ signs posted in businesses during a period of our nation’s history that we had hoped was over,” Ibrahim Hooper, Council on American-Islamic Relations’s national communications director, said in a press release.
A few days ago a judge tossed out CAIR’s lawsuit against a Florida Muslim-Free establishment. Huffington Post reported:
A federal judge dismissed a discrimination case filed against a Florida gun store that declared itself a Muslim-free zone.
The suit, filed in July by the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), accused Florida Gun Supply in Inverness of violating the Civil Rights Act by discriminating against people on the basis of religion.
U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom dismissed the case last week.
“There are simply no facts grounding the assertion that Plaintiff and/or one of its constituents will be harmed,” Bloom wrote in her ruling.
Store owner Andy Hallinan banned Muslims from his store in July after Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez allegedly killed four Marines and a Navy sailor and injured several others in shootings at multiple locations in Chattanooga.
CAIR filed suit shortly afterward.
“The only reason they filed this was to keep money coming from their supporters and to keep their group in the headlines,” Hallinan told the Washington Post. “It backfired and they look like idiots now.”
However, the organization said the ruling is actually a warning for Hallinan.
“The judge simply said that we didn’t have standing because nobody from our organization actually went and got service denied,” CAIR Florida executive director Hassan Shibly told Fox 13. “If somebody from the Muslim community were to go and get a denial of service then Andy will be liable. So we are very excited about that and it should be sending him a strong message once he gets over the initial elation.”
Hallinan appears to be sticking to his guns.
“We’re not selling Barbie dolls here, we’re selling firearms,” he said in a video released on YouTube. The clip showed him standing in front of a sign that said the store now bans Muslims and anyone affiliated with CAIR. “We need to make sure that we’re putting guns in people’s hands that are going to do good things in the community with them like keeping peace, not blowing other people up.”
Hallinan told the Post that a Muslim could “in theory” buy a gun from him, but only if he was convinced the person didn’t believe in a literal interpretation of the Koran.
“We get to know each and every one of our customers,” Hallinan told the paper. “If the hair on the back of our neck raises for any person – regardless of their race or religion or anything else – we will not sell to them.”
In the video, Hallinan showed off some new merchandise, including a shooting target that features the image of a skeleton with a beard and turban, holding an assault weapon. He’s also selling bumper stickers that say “MFZ” for Muslim-Free Zone.