This Islamophobic Billboard Meant to Inspire Hate, but It's Backfiring Horribly

April 13th 2016

Taylor Bell

An anti-Islam billboard in a town in St. Augustine, Florida is causing worldwide controversy over its Islamophobic message. Instead of inspiring hate, it's actually doing the opposite.

Here's what the billboard looks like.

Islam billboard

The billboard is located on Florida's highway A1A and Seashore Avenue, and was purchased by a private individual. Although it is still unclear who paid for the sign, sources have confirmed that it was not a church or organization, Fox30 reports.

The sign immediately outraged St. Augustine residents, with many saying that the billboard carries an offensive message about Islam that does not reflect the views of people living in their community.

"This is horrifying because this tells me that they want everyone in our whole city to read this," resident Lonny Rosen told Fox30.

Florida resident

Another resident, Becky Williams, began a petition on Care 2 and demanded that the anti-Islamic sign be taken down.

"We should always stand up for those in our community who are shown hatred and intolerance," Williams wrote on the petition's page. "We should be outraged that a billboard with this message could in any way represent our community as a whole. It is of the utmost importance that we stand against messages and movements that isolate, judge and threaten an entire sect of people who share our same hometown."

More than 11,000 people have signed that petition, including people from the U.K., India, France, and Nigeria, according to the Daily Mail.

Care 2 Islam billboard comment

Care 2 Islam billboard petition

Care 2 Islam billboard comment

Care 2 Islam billboard comment

Care 2 Islam billboard comment

Care 2 Islam billboard comment

Islamophobia is a growing concern in the U.S.

Muslims have increasingly felt more and more hostility toward themselves and their religion since the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, according to The Washington Post. A 2015 poll reported by the International Business Times found that less than half of Americans hold favorable attitudes toward Muslims than they did in prior years.

As a result, Muslims have been struggling to educate people about their religion, which they say has been misrepresented by terrorist groups such as the Islamic State.

“After 2010, we had a few years where things seemed to be getting better," national legislative director at Council on American-Islamic Relations Corey Saylor told The Post. "People of goodwill are trying to do work to bring people together, and it just takes a few moments of ISIS’s time to unravel all of that.”