One day after a photo depicting a black flag was displayed in front of a Garwood, N.J. residence, police confirm that the offensive banner has been removed. According to the Washington Free Beacon, the flag contained a symbol used by Islamic State terrorists currently engaging in a violent uprising in Iraq and Syria. Increasing violence in the region against minority groups resulted in Barack Obama’s authorization of humanitarian airstrikes three years after he withdrew troops from Iraq and declared that the war in that country was over. A photograph of the Garwood home’s apparent support of the group, also known as ISIS, sparked vociferous backlash on Twitter and other social media sites.
Many critics included the address of the offending residence, and some media sources obtained a phone number ostensibly linked to its occupants. NJ.com spoke to Mark Dunaway, a Muslim man reportedly responsible for displaying the flag. He denies any involvement with or endorsement of the ISIS terrorist organization.
“I understand now that people turn on CNN and see the flag associated with jihad, but that’s not the intention of that flag at all,” he said. “It says ‘There is only one god, Allah, and the prophet Muhammad is his messenger.’ It’s not meant to be symbol of hate. Islam is all about unity and peace. I am not a part of any group like that, and I’m not anti-American. I love my country, but I am a Muslim.”
When police brought the complaints to his attention earlier this week, he said he had no idea that photos of his home were already being shared online by countless social media users. Garwood Police Chief Bruce D. Underhill confirmed in an email to the Free Beacon that the flag was “voluntarily” removed, although he would not reveal what, if any, interaction occurred between authorities and the residents. The black flag was displayed alongside Turkey’s national flag. Despite the development, Dunaway told reporters that he hopes “the situation goes away” so that he can once again fly the flag from his front porch. Underwood expressed his gratitude for those who shared their concerns with his department in his letter to the Free Beacon. “Please be assured that the Garwood Police are aware of the situation and have taken the appropriate steps,” he wrote. “Only with the public’s continued cooperation can we keep our communities safe.” Updated images of the home reveal that the ISIS flag has been removed, replaced by a blue and white flag that could represent the nation of Greece. Photo Credit: Twitter/Marc Leibowitz
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