HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WBRC) - The owner of Salon U received a threatening note after flying a rainbow flag during Gay Pride month.
Issam Bajalia first thought the letter was a joke. He and others had just returned from the Stonewall uprising’s 50th anniversary celebrations in New York. Now he was facing a brutal reality.
“It was just very reminiscent of the mentalities and the attitudes that riddled this city in the ‘60’s,” says Bajalia.
A note, taped to their backdoor this week, reads: “This is not San Francisco or downtown Birmingham. This is Homewood which is a religious and family city. We suggest you remove that flag before it’s too late.”
“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,” says Taylor.
Ryan Taylor went home that night and posted this response to Facebook.
“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,” reads Taylor.
“I’m not an alarmist by nature, but I took it seriously. Particularly when you consider the Pulse nightclub shooting and several other hate crimes that happen in our nation,” says Bajalia.
The flag is not normally flown, but since the letter, it’s up again flying next to the American flag.
The salon is getting numerous phone calls and visitors wanting to express their appreciation.
Taylor says it’s all surreal. “When I read the letter I felt like I stood alone and now I feel like whoever wrote that letter stands alone. And the community stands against him.”
“And we hope through continued education and love, he will one day change his mind about his views,” says Bajalia.
They say they don’t consider this letter to be a representation of the community. Homewood police say they are looking at surveillance video of the incident now and they are increasing patrols in the area.