Garwood man flies Muslim flag causing neighborhood kerfuffle
I knew - as soon as I broached the topic last night of a man flying an Islamic flag outside his Garwood home - that a certain amount of jingoism was going to rear its head.
I was not disappointed.
It’s all stems from a man claiming to be Muslim who'd been flying a flag believed to be used by the terrorist group ISIS.
The man, Mark Dunaway, has flown the flag a number of times over the last 10 or so years for Muslim holidays and on days when he attends mosque – without any comment from his neighbors - until now.
He claims the neighbors know he’s a Muslim by his wearing of a kufi – and said,
"I understand now that people turn on CNN and see the flag associated with jihad, but that's not the intention of that flag at all.” "It says 'There is only one god, Allah, and the prophet Muhammad is his messenger.' 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."
That’s not the way one neighbor saw it – and decided to retweet a picture taken by a friend.
Well, you know how that internet thing goes. Once it was sent out, a number of comments came in from alarmed followers.
The Twitter user who posted the photo, @Marc_Leibowitz, wrote "Scary! Seen this morning at 117 Winslow Place Garwood, New Jersey: #ISIS #Turkey #Terrorism #Jihad @DHSgov @FBI"
The photo has been retweeted more than 400 times as of Wednesday evening and has garnered at least 50 comments.
"Jihadists are now in Garwood," wrote one commenter on the photo.
Dunaway claims that every now and then he changes up the flags – more recently substituting the Muslim flag for one of the San Diego Chargers.
This he did voluntarily out of concern, after the police had spoken to him.
While a number of callers agreed with my contention that he had every right to fly that flag, one or two called to say they were “true Americans” – one of whom served 4 years in Iraq – and that as “true Americans” they took offense at seeing the flag hanging from Dunaway’s home.
I explained, noting above, Dunaway’s contention that the flag was meant as an expression of his Islamic faith.
Funny how I had to explain this to people claiming to be "true Americans."
Mark Leibowitz, who posted the tweet, notified Homeland Security out of his concern someone belonging to the terrorist organization might be living in their midst.
However, if the flag is meant as an expression of faith, he expressed regret for his part in the controversy.
But this all serves as an object lesson in something we all believe but don’t seem to practice.
Something attributed to Voltaire: "I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."