Issam Bajalia owns a hair salon, Salon U, in Homewood, a suburb of Birmingham, Ala. He had a large rainbow pride flag outside of his business to celebrate Pride Month.
When he returned home from World Pride in New York City, he found a note taped to his hair salon telling him to remove the rainbow flag “before it is too late” because Homewood is “not San Francisco” and is a “family city.”
The full note reads:
“THIS IS NOT SAN FRANCISCO OR DOWNTOWN BIRMINGHAM
THIS IS HOMEWOOD WHICH IS A RELIGIOUS AND FAMILY CITY
WE SUGGEST THAT YOU REMOVE THAT FLAG
BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE
WE ARE CONCERNED CITIZENS
Despite the city and the note-writers supposedly being concerned about their “family city” they didn’t have any issue sending the thinly-veiled threat to Bajalia.
“We’re just very disappointed because our only crime… is we have a rainbow flag in front of our building,” Bajalia told AL.com.
“My thing is what is so offensive about a rainbow or a flag and how does this disrupt your religious journey? I am not an alarmist by nature. In fact I don’t feel threatened at all, however, when you have situations like the Pulse Nightclub shooting, you can’t be too careful in today’s day in time. You don’t know.”
Police have said that they will be adding a patrol to watch over the hair salon and are trying to find security footage from next door businesses.
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Ryan Taylor, one of the hair salon employees, posted a heartfelt message to the people who had left the threatening note.
If you feel called by your faith to spread the word of God through fear-mongering and intimidation, your belief system is flawed, it is fragile, and it is dangerous.
This flag is a peaceful symbol of freedom for the oppressed. It does not threaten your identity or your safety. And yet, because of its mere existence, you’ve threatened ours.
Our flag comes down at the end of June anyway, but to make our feelings clear—the message of love will not be silenced by your hate.
Still Proud in Homewood”