A man has defended posting an anti-Islam banner outside of his southern California home by echoing the message of President Donald Trump, saying “We need to take care of America first.”
The banner outside a house in the town of Ontario featured symbols for Christianity and Judaism and the word “Islam” crossed out in the middle. It also displayed the words “God bless America, keep America safe.”
The sign was put up several weeks ago by the owner, who gave his name only as Vincent to ABC News. He defended the sign as being within his Constitutional rights.
"I feel, as Americans, we need to take care of America first,” he said. “And exercising our freedom of speech, our First Amendment – it's a part of being American.”
The slogan “America first” was recently made popular by Trump during his campaign for president and was again prominent during his inauguration speech last month.
“It’s going to be only America first. America first,” Trump said as he was sworn in as the country’s 45th president.
The pledge has also been used by the president to defend his executive order banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations. A block on the order going into effect was upheld by an appeals court earlier this month, with the White House expected to announce a revised version this week.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2016
Vincent’s banner also had support from one of his neighbors, while local police have said that they had yet to receive any complaints, ABC News reported. However, another neighbor criticized it as a “hate sign.”
"It just makes the neighborhood ugly because you have to drive in, and you have to see that hate sign," neighborhood resident Paul Toscan said. "It's like 'Damn, I'm having a good day and then I see that, and it kind of brings your day down."
Incidents of hate against Muslims have seen a sharp rise in the past two years. In 2015, hate crimes targeting Muslims rose 67 percent, according to FBI data. Incidents have continued since last November’s election. Less than three weeks after Trump was elected president, letters were sent to multiple California mosques threatening genocide of Muslims and praising Trump.
Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.