In the wake of the stabbings that took place in St. Cloud, Minnesota over the weekend, one local restaurant owner decided to comment via the sign in front of his store. And what he said has created the latest controversy over anti-Muslim bigotry in the U.S.
Dan Ruedinger, the owner of Treats Family Restaurant in Lonsdale, a small town about 40 miles south of Minneapolis, placed a simple, direct message on his sign, but now that he is getting called out on it, he says he is being misunderstood. The sign in question reads simply “Muslims get out.”
When asked about the sign, Ruedinger offered a somewhat bizarre explanation. He told local TV station Fox9:
“I didn’t want to put ‘terrorist’ on the board, so we were going to put ‘Muslim extremist,’ but we didn’t have room on the board. People started taking it the wrong way and thinking we were against Muslims in general and we’re not, quite the opposite. We are not racist.”
Ruedinger doesn’t explain why he didn’t want to use the word “terrorist” on his sign. If you’re not anti-Muslim, as he says he is not, it seems like “terrorist” would be the perfect word to use. And it would be one that few if any people would probably quarrel about.
When he talked to another local station, WCCO, Ruedinger had more to say.
“It’s time that people started standing up, not worrying about the PC crowd and do what is right. And I feel what we’re doing is right. We are not targeting the Muslims in general, just the extremists. And that’s all I can say. It’s my right and I’m going to stand up, and I wish more people would do it.”
Then why not say “Extremists get out?” Everyone would get what you are saying, and there might even be some Muslims who would agree with you.
The more Ruedinger says about the sign and the reasons behind it, the more it appears that, despite his protests, yes, he really doesn’t like Muslims. He told the Lonsdale News Review,
“With all the bombs and shootings we’ve had, we’re supposed to welcome refugees here who want to kill us? This has nothing to do with race, it has to do with a religion of hatred that preaches violence.”
Ruedinger finished his comment with the demand that “good” Muslims should get the terrorists under control.
“Some Muslims are good people and want a better life. They need to step up, take control and hold the others accountable.”
The sign, which Ruedinger says he is not going to change or remove, has drawn protests. One protester, Payten Estepp, who stood on the street outside the restaurant on Monday evening, said he is afraid people driving by will think the whole community “is as crass as that sign.”
If Ruedinger is telling the truth, it appears that a number of local residents agree with him. He says business was so good on Monday after posting the sign that he had to call in extra help.
The next time an abortion clinic gets attacked, or a government building gets blown up, let’s see if the sign reads “Christians get out.”
Here’s a report from WCCO:
Featured image via WCCO screen capture