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Anti-Muslim Facebook post results in local Wal-Mart employee’s termination

THE EVIDENCE — Pictured is the screen shot of Earsing’s post from his Facebook account. Photo used courtesy of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
HAMBURG — After a photo was posted with anti-Muslim comments, an employee of the Wal-Mart Supercenter located on Southwestern Boulevard in Hamburg was terminated from his position as assistant manager.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations of New York, a national advocacy group for the Islamic community based in New York City, swiftly became involved with the situation. According to Ryan Mahoney, board president of the New York chapter, CAIR is the nation’s largest non-profit Muslim civil rights advocacy organization. It deals with civil rights issues, discrimination, hate crimes and government advocacy, “trying to enhance the understanding of Islam.”
A person from Hamburg who is involved in the Muslim community approached CAIR-NY with a screen shot of the offending post. A mobile upload photo was posted at 9:54 a.m. on Aug. 30 by Terry Earsing to his personal Facebook account. The photo, taken from afar, was of two Muslim women dressed in traditional full-body cover, shopping in a Wal-Mart aisle.
Along with the photo, Earsing commented, “Halloween came early this year ... do they really have to f----- dress like that ... your [sic] in my country ... get that f----- s--- off !!!!!” CAIR-NY then drafted a letter and press release, to notify Wal-Mart about the situation. “We just wanted Wal-Mart to act in accordance to whatever their policy would be on this,” Mahoney said. He added that the issue is straightforward, but that it is not very controversial. Mahoney gave an example of a hot button issue that recently occurred at a planning site where a mosque was to be built; the site was found scattered with decapitated pigs’ heads.
The United States Constitution guarantees all Americans the right to the freedom of speech, but Mahoney said that, because Earsing’s bias speech was made within the Wal-Mart setting, toward customers of the store, it is more of a legality issue. It was no longer an act of personal expression, he added.
Mahoney and CAIR are currently in the process of reaching out to Earsing. Mahoney said the goal of the organization is not to harm people or fire them from employment, but to advocate the Islamic community’s rights. “If there’s any possibility of trying to help him find future employment, Muslims would really love to help him, if his attitude changes,” Mahoney added.
He discussed the over-arching theme of certain groups within the country that range in acceptance of derogatory speech. He said that it has become more socially acceptable for people to be biased toward those in the Muslim culture. “We’re not asking for any special treatment for Muslims; we’re looking for the same treatment [as other Americans],” he said.
Phone calls to Earsing by The Sun had not been returned, as of press time.


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