Press Release by National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Washington, DC
NIAC deplores the racist and violent depiction of what is supposed to be a group of cowboys donning “Iranians Suck” t-shirts while lynching an Iranian on a poster at a restaurant in Katy, Texas. In response to the recent attention received, the owner of the restaurant, John Nonmacher, said “If they're not happy here, then they should go back to Iran.”
“This is not an issue of freedom of speech, as Mr. Nonmacher claims, but rather an issue of hate speech. I’m confident a court of law would agree with that assessment,” said NIAC Community Outreach Director Nobar Elmi. "This hate speech goes against some of the founding principles of our country - a country built by immigrants that promotes racial and religious tolerance and appreciation of our multi-cultural roots."
The owner cited as his justification for continuing to display the poster the three young Americans who were detained in 2009 and held in an Iranian prison. Speaking on behalf of the three young Americans who were released in September 2011, Sarah Shourd told NIAC:
"We are horrified that Mr. Nonmacher used our wrongful imprisonment in Iran to justify his own racism. This kind of hatred and ignorance fuels hostility between the US and Iran and benefits no one.”
“I am not sure the owner of this restaurant has ever met an Iranian or an American of Iranian descent. Perhaps if he had, he would understand why this image is so disgusting,” said Elmi. “As Iranian Americans, we deplore intolerance between our two cultures that is only manipulated to sow the seeds of hatred. And, I am willing to meet directly with Mr. Nonmacher to provide him with some perspective.”
NIAC is committed to the values of free speech and racial tolerance and is dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Iranian Americans and promoting a positive image of our community.
The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the interests of the Iranian-American community. NIAC’s mission is focused on promoting an active and engaged Iranian-American community, supporting aspirations for human rights and democracy in Iran, opposing war between the US and Iran, and celebrating our community’s deep cultural heritage. NIAC accomplishes its mission by supplying the resources, knowledge and tools to enable greater civic participation by Iranian Americans and informed decision-making by policymakers. For more information, please visit www.niacouncil.org.
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