CAIRO - An Oakland county Target shop in the northeastern US state of Michigan has angered the area's Muslim community after offering a target that depicts a bearded skeleton clothed in traditional Muslim garb and holding a rifle.
"It's provocative and dangerous," Dawud Walid, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Michigan, told Detroit News.
"There are law-abiding Muslims in this area who dress like this minus the AK-47.
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Walid said he received a complaint last week about the image which depicts a skeleton with a long beard wearing a robe and turban and carrying an AK-47.
The image is distributed by Thompson Target of Canton, Ohio, which also features targets such as "Wall Street Zombie" and "Redneck Zombie."
With the incredible surge of gun violence, an unstable person can see a Detroit-area Muslim as a potential target for shooting," Walid added.
The United States has experienced a number of mass shooting rampages last year, most recently in Oregon, where a gunman opened fire at a shopping mall, killing two people and then himself.
A shooting spree in December left 26 people, including 20 children aged 5 to 10 years old, dead when a heavily-armed gunman stormed into their school in Newtown, Connecticut.
A deadly shooting came in July at a midnight screening of a Batman film in Colorado that killed 12 people and wounded 58.
In 2007, 32 people were killed at Virginia Tech University in the deadliest act of criminal gun violence in US history.
Raising Muslim concerns, Walid met with the owner of Target Sports in Royal Oak, Ray Jihad asking him to stop selling the item.
"He was extremely friendly and understanding," said Walid.
"We welcome the decision of Target Sports to discontinue selling such targets, which could have the effect of perpetuating misconceptions that Muslims, in particular those wearing certain attire, are to be viewed as a threat that should be eliminated."
Yet, concerns remained about how many other gun shops across the country might be selling the target.
"We would hope after review that they would stop manufacturing other targets that single out minority communities," he said.
US Muslims, estimated at between seven to eight million, have been sensing hostility in recent months.
A recent report by CAIR, the University of California and Berkeley's Center for Race and Gender found that Islamophobia in the US is on the rise.
A US survey had also revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.
A recent Gallup poll had found that 43 percent of Americans Nationwide admitted to feeling at least a little prejudice against Muslims.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net