Skip to comments.Houston shopkeeper hit with hate mail
Posted on 07/09/2010 7:12:26 AM PDT by Responsibility2nd
Sajid Master wants the phone calls and angry letters to stop. He wants people to quit coming into Perfume Planet in Houston to yell at his workers. Hed especially like folks to stop castigating his landlord.
Nearly a year after the Internet painted Master as an al-Qaida sympathizer, outrage toward the store at the Harwin Central Mart shows no sign of waning.
Theyve threatened to kill me; sometimes theyre cursing when they call, Master said Thursday in his shop.
Trouble is, all the indignation is the product of a massive misunderstanding, illustrating the awesome and sometimes damaging power of the Internet.
Master, who describes himself as a proud American citizen, says he isnt a terrorist sympathizer hes just a shopkeeper who inadvertently touched a very raw nerve.
It started when the Muslim merchant posted a sign at his shop during Ramadan explaining the store would be closed Sept. 11 to remember the death of Imam Ali, a sacred Muslim figure.
But Master failed to explain that Ali, whos remembered on a different date each year during Ramadan, died in AD 661 and was in no way related to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Someone snapped a picture of the sign and started sending it around online, claiming Imam Ali was one of the 9-11 hijackers.
Before long the photo went viral, showing up on countless conservative Internet forums and prompting statements like this one that appeared at 2Aforum.com: Picket, protest, and through lawful means, strangle their business.
Soon the phone calls started, befuddling and overwhelming store manager Hasan Kolsawala, who tried to explain that no offense was intended. People also called Masters cell phone to denounce him.
He probably could have shrugged off the incident as a temporary annoyance, but 10 months later, the consequences of that sign still reverberate.
Phone calls to Perfume Planet often come in waves as people send around new e-mail chains urging recipients to voice their anger. Workers try to explain things.
But some people dont want to listen, Kolsawala said.
Then there are the people who stomp into the store holding printouts of the infamous photo and demanding explanations.
And there are the countless angry letters flooding the shops mailbox. Master dutifully responds to each one.
Luckily for Master, some websites, like the popular snopes.com, have taken pity on him, dedicating space to debunking the controversy.
But the parade of phone calls keeps coming, not only to the shop but to the management of Harwin Central Mart.
Myong Yi, the malls manager, said hes almost at his breaking point.
Sometimes I want to just kick him out, he said.
This year, Perfume Planet will close to commemorate Imam Alis death in early September.
But the sign will be different, Kolsawala said.
Itll just say, Were closed today. " he said.
I'm glad he took all this heat. I was beginning to worry if there were any Americans left who still remembered the events of 9/11.
So he’s still supporting a dead islamic radical but this particular one is a good one?
He may be a doofus who did not understand that people would make the wrong connection. But I fail to see why you would be glad he has taken heat over a mis-perception.
Sure, haven't you heard the saying ... The only good islamic radical is a dead one.
The Houston Chronicle had the same sob story. Neither of the papers printed the sign. That makes me think that it wasn’t as innocent as Mr. Master says.
Switch to Christianity Sajid. You won’t get any virgins, but you will get eternal salvation.
It's a 1,400 year-old Shia thing, it's basically what separates the Shiites from the Sunnis. Still, really dumb to specifically tie an Arab name to September 11th in a reverent manner.
“But I fail to see why you would be glad he has taken heat over a mis-perception.”
because he is one that is seeking to further infiltrate America and bring Sharia law here.
You really think that’s what this was? There are anti-American Muslim plants in America today attempting in subtle and not so subtle ways to disrupt our airports, our schools, and even our malls. But for this guy to close up shop on 9/11 leads me to wonder if he knew full well what the American reaction would be.
And even if he was simply stupid and naive? Stupid should hurt.
It took me 15 seconds to find the photograph:
(It's at http://www.snopes.com/photos/signs/graphics/martyr.jpg if your browser doesn't load it for some reason)
It appears to be completely innocent, but at the same time is amazingly insensitive.
“Still, really dumb to specifically tie an Arab name to September 11th in a reverent manner. “
hey we agree on something!
IMO there are no peaceful islamists.
I just don’t trust Muslims. Period! I won’t be surprised if CAIR doesn’t use this to claim that wide spread intimidation of ALL Muslims takes place in America.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I think that America was a lot better off when there weren’t so d*^*ed many Muslims in the country.
This guy is either a total fool or he did this deliberately. Either way, I don’t feel sorry for him.
Phenomenally stupid or a planned provocation?
Yeah just like that mosque in New York a block from ground zero. The one they are planning to start construction on 9/11 this year and have a dedication next year on 9/11.
Nahh, this guy isn’t naive. Muslims here in America KNOW how sensitive that date is to the people of this nation.
He was sticking his finger in the eye of ‘those’ people. -knowing that as a ‘minority’, he has RIGHTS and will be protected.
This game is played all the time here in our ‘PC’ America.
This reminds me of the time when I closed my Sunglass Hut in Karachi for Ash Wednesday and the Islamists murdered my entire village with machetes and gasoline. I can sympathize.
More info from http://www.snopes.com/rumors/photos/martyr.asp:
The Imam Ali was not a modern day terrorist, but a 7th century religious figure, the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, whom Shi'a Muslims regard as the first Imam. (Disagreement over Ali's role in Islamic theology led to the division of Muslims into the Sunni and Shi'a branches of Islam.)
Ali was attacked by an assassin while praying in a mosque on the 19th day of Ramadan and died two days later, so the 21st day of Ramadan is (among the Shi'a branch) a day of special significance, a day for honoring the martyrdom of the Imam Ali. Since the Islamic calendar is based on lunar months with years of 354 or 355 days, the months of the Islamic calendar move around from year to year with respect to the Gregorian calendar. In 2009, the month of Ramadan began on 21 August, and the 21st day of Ramadan therefore coincidentally fell on the date of September 11 by the Gregorian calendar that year.
Oh, I’m so LMAO here! He posted it in Spanish too!
I’m kinda suprized he didn’t post it in Arabic also.