A restaurant and ice cream store in a quiet Minnesota town is the center of controversy after the owner put up a sign that reads "MUSLIMS GET OUT."
The sign outside Treats Family Restaurant and Ice Cream Shop in Lonsdale, Minnesota, has drawn attention since Dan Ruedinger put up the message Monday. It came as a response to the stabbing attack at the Crossroads Center in St. Cloud on Saturday, which is being probed as a possible terrorist act.
After a picture of the sign was put on the Lonsdale Happenings Facebook group by Joe Reyes, the eatery's notoriety has spread, with multiple diners posting 1-star reviews and criticisms on review site Yelp.
"This un-American establishment is a disgrace to the state of Minnesota," Yelp reviewer Lin E., of St. Paul, wrote.
The Star Tribune reports police were called to the restaurant on Tuesday morning after three soda bottles had been thrown through the windows and a "hate note" was left at the scene.
Ruedinger says he won't take the sign down, saying he has "had enough" and is "standing up" to extremist violence. He also told the paper if Muslims come in and "be nice, I don't care what their race is."
He told KSTP he put up the sign because of his son, who served two tours overseas. In spite of the negative reaction, he said business has been great.
Muslim leaders reach out
The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) said in a news release it would be reaching out to Ruedinger, and inviting him to meet with Muslim community leaders at the Islamic Center of Faribault.
"Our experience has shown that interaction with ordinary American Muslims and enhanced knowledge of Islam are key factors in the reduction of Islamophobic attitudes," CAIR-MN executive director Jaylani Hussein said. "We invite Mr. Ruedinger to visit the mosque in Fairbault and to learn more about Muslims and Islam in Minnesota."
Hussein thanked those community members of different faiths and backgrounds who spoke out against the "Muslims Get Out Sign."
In the wake of the attack in St. Cloud, members of the Somali community in the city have been calling for unity amid fears of retaliation.
No evidence has been found directly linking the suspect, 20-year-old Dahir Adan, to international terrorist groups at this stage.