New Jersey Home's Islamic Flag Riles Up Twitter

Muslim Mark Dunaway takes it down after critics equate it with terrrorism
By Shelley Hazen,  Newser User
Suggested by JERZJOE
Posted Aug 14, 2014 4:32 PM CDT

(Newser) – "Jihadists are now in Garwood." Well, not exactly. New Jersey resident Mark Dunaway has removed an Islamic flag he's flown outside his home for 10 years after a photo of it was posted to Twitter and garnered comments like that one, AP reports. The black flag—which says, "There is only one god, Allah, and the prophet Muhammad is his messenger" in Arabic—is sometimes used by the Islamic State, or ISIS. "It's not meant to be a symbol of hate," says Dunaway. "Islam is all about unity and peace. I am not a part of any group like that, and I'm not anti-American. I love my country, but I am a Muslim," he tells the Star-Ledger.

Dunaway was told his house was on Twitter by a cop. The photo was posted by Marc Leibowitz, who reported it to Homeland Security, because "seeing what appears to me to be an Islamic State flag flying in a community not far from my home, it seemed prudent and appropriate to notify the authorities." But Dunaway's neighbors have never complained about the flag; one calls him "harmless," adding, "I'm more concerned about the crazy people saying they're going to retaliate and set his house on fire. They're the extremists," she says. Since the uproar, Dunaway has replaced the offending flag with a more patriotic one—the American flag in a San Diego Chargers color scheme. But he's not ruling out putting it back up again.

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