White nationalist group American Vanguard has been popping up on college campuses across the nation and posting anti-Muslim fliers.
Students attending University of Texas at Austin, University of Central Florida, and Rutgers University tweeted photos of various Islamophobic black and white fliers, including one that reads, “Imagine A Muslim-Free America.”
A silhouette of the fallen Twin Towers is depicted in the background of one of the fliers. American Vanguard was named as the responsible party after their Texas chapter took credit for the posters at UT Austin, Mic reports.
UT Austin has since removed the fliers on their campus and released a statement explaining that the placement of the posters went against school policy.
“The university vigorously supports free speech, but posting signs of any nature on the outside of university buildings is not allowed under campus rules,” the statement read.
A senior at the university named Sarah Khan criticized the university’s “problematic” statement, pointing out that the college didn’t condemn the offensive content printed on the fliers nor did it acknowledge students who were affected by the ordeal.
"UT Austin’s message was trash," Khan reportedly said in an email. "This was a great way to tell their Muslim students that they really don’t give a sh** about their safety. UT cares more about their property being destroyed than the lives of their students."
Azmia Magane, a Muslim University of Central Florida alum, said she believes that the American Vanguard is promoting the genocide of Muslims in the United States.
“These are not benign 'free speech' fliers," Magane said. "This is targeted hate speech against Muslims. There's only two ways that America would ever be 'Muslim-free.' These posters are literally calling for the removal of Muslims from their homes, followed by subsequent deportation — a so-called 'peaceful' cleansing — or genocide. That is violent.”
Magane also suggested that the Southern Poverty Law Center dub the American Vanguard as a hate group before it provokes people to cause harm to marginalized communities.
"It was groups like this that radicalized Dylann Roof,” Magane said. "If some of America didn't see these things as a problem before, they should now. America cannot deny white supremacy and its violent extremism anymore. It's written in black and white on a poster: 'Imagine a Muslim-Free America.'"
A spokesperson for Rutgers University-New Brunswick said the fliers were removed on their campus after several complaints from students.
“The contents of the flyer, which was also posted elsewhere nationwide, violate the values and ideals for which Rutgers stands," the spokesman said. “We strongly condemn this kind of speech and are appalled that our Muslim community was targeted in this way.”
These Islamophobic posters express sentiments sparked by President Donald Trump’s recent executive immigration orders. The president’s stringent travel ban targeting Muslim-majority countries set the foundation for this “Muslim-free America” that these white supremacists seek to achieve.
The fact that the leader of our country seems to share in their values is what makes groups like the American Vanguard feel vindicated in their hateful actions.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Reuters