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It's been a week since the deadly shooting in Olathe, KS, where two of the victims were targeted because they did not look like they belonged.
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens put out a statement on the tragic incident:
"It was a concerned Missourian who is said to have alerted the police. The suspect had admitted the crime to her and asked her for a place to hide out. She took responsible and decisive action that led to the arrest.
It is alleged that, when the suspect went into the bar, he shouted “get out of my country” before firing his weapon. We will learn the truth of what happened in the bar soon enough, but what we can say for certain is this: This hate has no place in our state. This violence has no place in our state. And if you are a violent criminal who harms the innocent, you will find no quarter in our state. Come across our border, and we will find you and bring you to justice."
Unfortunately, this statement flies in the face of his own actions.
This gimmick normalizes Islamophobia, and by extension, hate for anyone who looks vaguely like a Muslim (whatever that means), illustrated by Srinivas Kuchibhotla's death last week.
Just as his "ISIS Hunting Permit" gag did, this statement signals to people of color and immigrants they don't matter as much to his administration.
When Faizen Syed, spokesperson for the Missouri chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations explained why this was a bad idea, Greitens said nothing and continued to sell them.
“When [people] get a bumper sticker saying ‘Here’s your permit to attack ISIS,’ and they see a young Muslim lady at Wal-Mart, and they’re like, ‘This is ISIS, I’m going to attack them,’ that’s when the real trouble begins.”
Greitens is right: There is no place for hate in our state. But that should start with him.