St. Cloud, Minnesota, has issued a cease-and-desist order against a local Islamic center because its security car looks like a city police car.
The St. Cloud Times reports the dispute arose when a council member spotted a car belonging to the Islamic Center of St. Cloud that looked like a vehicle the city’s officers drive, except that it said “security.”
And that violates a state statute.
Mayor Dave Kleis was told of the problem when council member Paul Brandmire spotted the Islamic center’s squad car.
“Brandmire said the vehicle reminded him of vehicles he has heard were used in other states like New York to ‘enforce Shariah law,'” the report said.
“That raised all kind of red flags,” the council member told the Times. “Why do they need a patrol car?”
The president of the center, Mohayadin Mohamed, told the newspaper the vehicle is used for such things as directing traffic.
“We feel that is our responsibility to at least have some presence of security on our premises,” he said.
“They are not out patrolling any neighborhood.”
After an investigation, Kleis told the newspaper, it was revealed that other local organizations also had security cars painted white with “security” on the side. The problem is being addressed with all owners of such vehicles.
Assistant police chief Jeff Oxton explained the law allows only law enforcement to use certain colors, such as white, and signs.
“Mohamed said the center is working with the police department to change the car’s appearance so it doesn’t violate state statute,” the report said.