Muslims to meet with shop owner over gun comments

INVERNESS (FOX 13) -A move intended to keep Muslims out of his store may be doing just the opposite for an Inverness gun shop owner.

Andy Hallinan created a five-minute video and recently posted it on his company's Facebook page.

"I have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure the safety of all patriots in my community, and so effective immediately, I am declaring Florida Gun Supply a 'Muslim-free zone'. I will not arm and train those who wish to do harm to my fellow patriots," he says in the video.

More than 50,000 people viewed the video in a matter of days, including Muslims from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who is now calling on the Department of Justice to investigate possible federal civil rights violations.

"I would be horrified to hear about a Jewish-free zone or a white-free zone or a black-free zone. And certainly to hear about a Muslim-free zone not only saddens me as a Muslim, but really as an American. I believe that's un-American. That's against the First Amendment," said Hassan Shibly, Executive Director of CAIR Florida.

Shibly reached out to Hallinan Monday to discuss the language in his video. "I believe ignorance is our biggest enemy, that's what promotes fear and hatred and division and ultimately discrimination," said Shibly.

Hallinan told FOX 13 members from CAIR are expected to take a concealed weapons permit class Saturday at Florida Gun Supply, and at the end of the day, everyone will sit down and have an open discussion on the Islamic faith. "And I'm going to teach him about the Quran and we'll hopefully have a healthy exchange of ideas and hopefully let this incident result in some new friendships and new alliances," said Shibly.

Though he said he understands the majority of Muslims are not violent extremists, Hallinan said he believes Islam's core foundation is evil. Shibly hopes to change that. "I don't believe that the Quran teaches me to hate anybody. On the contrary, it teaches me to be an ambassador of peace, love passion and mercy," he said. "We can't judge a great religion by what its worst adherents commit."

Hallinan says he also plans to host a community meeting to openly discuss Islam sometime in August.