Parking signs popping up in Houston, Texas, this week are sparking major controversy.
Placards that read, “No Muslim parking in the Westview Shopping Center” were recently posted outside of a local mall. In addition to issuing the faith-based crack-down, the text also pledged to tow anyone who violates the stated rule. The mysterious messages have since been removed.
The signs were posted this week along the street near El Farouq Mosque, a house of worship that is nearby the mall. When Muslims attending the mosque saw the signs, many of them were offended, KPRC-TV reports, but no one has come forward to claim responsibility for putting them up.
One worshiper named Ahmed Hssan, said that he feels sorry for whoever wrote the sign, noting that the individual clearly “has a lot of hate.” He dubbed the sign both “offensive and hateful.”
“I’m very shocked because we do live in a society that’s supposed to be very accepting and this is what we all preach,” added Yara Aboshady, another parishioner. “That we all have the freedom of religion.”
Store employees, though, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the outlet that it’s frustrating when individuals attending the El Farouq mosque take parking spots meant for Westview Shopping Center customers. Since the mall and the house of worship are across the street from one another, this apparently happens frequently.
KPRC-TV has more:
Mystery still surrounds where the signs came from in the first place, as they recently appeared when the Islamic month of Ramadan was coming to a close (it ended Wednesday).
When KPRC-TV spoke with some of the workers at the center, one said that owner Steve Kwon posted the controversial messages. But in an interview with the outlet, the businessman denied doing so.
The owner has since removed the signs, but he pledges to tow any cars that improperly park at the shopping center.