A New Mexico convenience store has drawn backlash for a sign letting customers know that “Obama & Other Muslims” should take their business elsewhere, KOB-TV (Albuquerque) is reporting.
The Mayhill Convenience Store is the only place to buy groceries for miles around. That means if you’re going to shop there, you’re going to have to put up with the cantankerous owner’s many signs offering his thoughts on Muslims, Obama, the Clintons, or whoever else has earned his ire.
One sign, directed at Obama, tells the “half-breed” to go back to Kenya. Another one, captioned “Obama Swing Set,” shows a noose hanging from a tree. Another one is more direct: “Kill Obama.”
— Vivian (@VivNed23) December 30, 2016
But the sign that has caused the most controversy and gained the attention of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is the biggest and most prominently displayed: “Obama & Other Muslims Not Welcome Here.”
The owner of Mayhill Convenience store in New Mexico takes the first Douchebag of 2017 award. Give’m a hand folks!https://t.co/GZ5E0geXok
— Model003 (@DJModel003) January 1, 2017
To be fair, the owner of the convenience store, who has denied repeated requests by the media to comment, has plenty of hate to go around for just about everybody. Former employee Marlon McWilliams says that the owner will ban pretty much anyone he doesn’t like from the store.
“If you go in there and you offend him, you can’t go in there no more. He turns lots of people away.”
However, customers the store owner hasn’t yet turned away — and McWilliams says there are plenty who agree with him — are free to buy the signs; the owner sells them.
“He sells those signs to people who come through and stop and read them.”
As in just about every case when a business makes a political statement, customers, or just as often if not more, people who have never set foot in the place have made their thoughts known on social media. Some call them “sick.” Others use words like “offensive.” Others mention more mundane and immediate concerns about the convenience store, according to the Miami Herald, including a cockroach problem and poorly-designed bathrooms.
The bathroom sign in the Mayhill convenience store. pic.twitter.com/mmxH7nxCQk
— Taylor (@Taylor_Freese) April 15, 2014
Needless to say, the store’s signs have gotten the attention of CAIR. In a statement, CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper called on the store’s owner to take the sign down.
“While everyone has the First Amendment right to free speech – even offensive speech – we urge the store’s owner to remove the sign in the interest of common decency and of our nation’s unity at a time of increasing divisions.”
So are the convenience store’s signs legal? Absolutely; the First Amendment to the Constitution gives the business owner the right to display just about anything he wants in his windows (excluding such things as pornography). Similarly, his sign telling Muslims not to come inside is also legal: He would only be in trouble if he acted on the sign by actually denying a Muslim entry or mistreating a Muslim customer because he/she was Muslim. And inasmuch as there are few, if any, Muslims within a hundred miles of Mayhill, it’s likely that no one is going to have the standing to file a complaint.
As it turns out, though, the signs may not be staying up for long: the convenience store is for sale for $359,000 – and former employee McWilliams would love for someone to buy it.
“I wish somebody would buy it. I really do, because it would be a great asset for somebody to be there to run it. Because that’s the only place you can go to get milk and bread.”
Do you find the store’s signs offensive?
[Featured Image by Smith1972/Shutterstock]