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‘Obama & other Muslims not welcome here’: Convenience store’s signs spark outrage

By Greg Hadley

ghadley@mcclatchy.com

No criminal investigation has been opened against the store, which has displayed similar signs for years.
No criminal investigation has been opened against the store, which has displayed similar signs for years. KOB

According to online reviews, the Mayhill Convenience Store in New Mexico has poorly cleaned bathrooms, a cockroach problem and signs that say things like “Obama The Anti-Christ.”

That last detail has ignited a firestorm of controversy online after an Albuquerque TV station reported on the store this past Friday. According to KOB, the store has been posting such signs for years. Mayhill is about a 4-hour drive southeast from Albuquerque.

Among the most contentious signs are ones that feature an “Obama swing set” with a picture of a noose, another that calls for the “half-breed” to be sent “to Kenya” and another that simply states “KILL OBAMA” with “care” written in much smaller letters on another line, according to reviews and social media posts.

KOB interviewed a former employee of the store who said the owner routinely rejects customers who disagree with him and sells the signs to those who like them.

“They're offensive to me from time to time, but you know that's my opinion,” Marlon McWilliams, the former employee, said. “That's the way I feel.”

KOB also reports that the store is for sale for $359,000. An expired listing on BusinessBroker.com had the asking price at $300,000.

But while KOB’s report has drawn worldwide attention to the tiny community of Mayhill, with outlets such as the Independent, Mic.com and AOL News all picking the story up, social media postings show that many visitors to the store have been shocked by the signs in the past.

Warning: Explicit Language

However, the store’s owner has continued to produce signs, and McWilliams said it is one of the few places in the rural community where groceries are readily available.

Now, however, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has weighed in on the issue, specifically asking the store’s owner to remove the sign featured in the KOB story seemingly barring Muslims from entering.

“While everyone has the First Amendment right to free speech – even offensive speech – we urge the store’s owner to remove the sign in the interest of common decency and of our nation’s unity at a time of increasing divisions,” CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper said in a statement.

Online, the store has been hit with a barrage of negative reviews on Facebook and Google, with many calling the owner’s policies a violation of non-discrimination laws. KOB said the store’s owner did not return requests for comment.

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