ROCHESTER, Minn. – Earlier this week, we told you about a sign outside of a Lonsdale, MN restaurant that read, “Muslims get out.” The owner of the restaurant says he put the sign out to show support for victims of the St. Cloud mall stabbing, where a Muslim man injured several people. The sign has received both negative and positive feedback.
One thing is for sure, it captured the attention of Regina Mustafa, a Muslim woman who founded the Community Interfaith Dialogue on Islam in Rochester and does a lot of interfaith work around the state.
On Thursday evening, Regina decided to make a trip to Lonsdale in the hopes of meeting face-to-face with the owner. She took to Facebook Live to document her feelings, saying she was nervous but knew it was something she had to do.
“What was shocking was when we got there, we realized the sign was different than the image we had seen on the internet because now it said, “Muslims get out of the USA,” she says. “So not just his restaurant, now he wants them all out of the entire country.”
With a bouquet of flowers and card in-hand, Regina entered the restaurant alone and quietly asked to talk to the owner.
“The last thing I wanted to do was disturb his business, or be disrespectful to the people, or cause a scene, I just wanted to talk to him,” she says.
When she did, she noted that both the owner and his wife were polite, kind, and despite it being a busy night, they gave her a few minutes to talk about the sign. She says he told her the sign is referring to “extremists” and not all Muslims.
“I said to him, “don’t you think it’s just better to take down the sign than to keep it up when it apparently doesn’t reflect what you really mean.” I pleaded to him, I said “I’m a mother, I have two young children and what would it do if my son were to see that sign?” And he said, “oh you and your family are welcomed here any time.””
Regina says she is glad that she went, even if the sign will not be changed.
“What I did was the Islamic way, I was following the example of prophet Muhammad, at least I tried to the best that I could, going and providing and saying, “Hey, please take this down.””