A picture of four Washington University in St. Louis college students dressed up for Halloween in what appears to be costumes resembling SEAL Team 6 members holding water guns toward a fifth student dressed like Osama bin Laden with the American flag draped in the background has prompted outrage and controversy.
The photo, titled “Halloween ’13 Amurrica!!” allegedly detailed some fraternity Halloween festivities, and after it was posted on Facebook on Oct. 30 it was reposted by student Mahroh Jahangiri on Wednesday, who decried it as discriminatory and unacceptable.
“This photo and its ‘Amurrica’ caption imply that ‘Amurrica’ is white (male) Americans; people with beards, or of darker color, or implicitly Muslims, are not,” states Jahangiri in her post, which went viral. “This photo implies that not only are Muslims not American, their lives are expendable. They can (and should) be brought to their knees with guns pointed at their damned faces. This photo makes a costume of the lives of the thousands of civilian Muslim men who have been murdered during our ‘War on Terror’ and the countless others who have been mutilated, robbed, and stabbed to death in hate crimes across the United States – very much because of the vehemently racist discourse such photos represent.”
In response to the photo, the college’s Muslim Students Association on Thursday night hosted a “Solidarity Forum,” during which one campus official apologized for not responding sooner to the photo, which was sent to her on Halloween, the Student Life campus newspaper reports.
Student Life reports that campus officials as a whole also commented on the controversy in an email to students, saying: “As a community, one of our highest priorities is to maintain an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome. Images like the one that was posted on a social media site by students on Halloween and the impact it has had reminds us that we all must be united in this effort and it must be on-going. Whatever the intention, the image has offended and hurt members of our community. … We are deeply disappointed and saddened that this has occurred. We must expect better of ourselves and of each other.”
IMAGE: Facebook screenshot