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What is this world coming to? You put up a billboard outside your business with a xenophobic joke and people get upset?
"BBQ PORK RESTURANT IS SAFEST NO MUSLIMS INSIDE."
Chuck Biddinger, owner of Electronic Repair Company put up the sign outside his East Lake, Alabama business. He says the billboard is a joke that he received in an e-mail.
"Muslims do not eat pork. And, uh, it's a known fact, Muslims have tried to commit crimes in this country," Biddinger said told the local ABC affiliate ABC 33/40. He continued, "I'm not a politically correct person, don't claim to be, never have been."
The local news interviewed residents about it and their reactions were mixed. Some thought it was hilarious, other's said it wasn't right. "When you start getting into race and religion and stuff like that, people feel strongly," said a women interviewed at a local gas station told ABC 33/40.
Biddinger has no immediate plans to take it down.
"I have gotten a few complaints about it, but for every one complaint about it I've had, 10 people tell me that they like it and support it," he told ABC 33/40. According to Biddinger, he usually puts up new signs on a weekly basis based on jokes in e-mails he receives.
Like many provocateurs, Biddinger seems well aware of the power of publicity and seems more than willing to milk this for all it's worth. "For the local area, if I offend a few Muslims, there will be a lot of people who support it," he said. "Not to mention, all the coverage of his repair shop from the sign is good for business ... I believe it's a positive."
It will be interesting to see whether anything comes from this incident. Chances are that the sign itself probably isn't against any laws. However, it could be used as evidence for a separate claim of discrimination, criminal incident or other civil rights violation. For instance, if a Muslim employee worked at the shop.