Gun-store owner declares business a 'Muslim-free zone'

"Our leaders are telling you that Islam is a peaceful religion, full of tolerance and love and hope. Don't believe their lies," Hallinan says in the five-minute video.Youtube

A Florida gun store owner has declared his business a "Muslim-free zone" – a decision he says is in response to last week's Chattanooga shooting.

In a five-minute rant posted to YouTube, Andy Hallinan of Florida Gun Supply says that he is taking "drastic" action following the deaths of five service men in an attack by suspected Islamic extremist Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez. The video has caused outrage, with many condeming Hallinan's words as Islamophobic.

Standing in front of a Confederate flag, which he insists does not represent "white supremacy, hatred and intolerance", Hallinan says he is "not intolerant of others". The video then cuts to footage of riots breaking out following the announcement that police officer Darren Wilson, who fatally shot black teenager Michael Brown last August, would not be facing criminal charges. Hallinan claims that racism in the US has increased since President Obama took office in 2008.

"Our leaders are telling you that Islam is a peaceful religion, full of tolerance and love and hope. Don't believe their lies," he continues.

"We're in battle, patriots, but not only with Islamic extremism. We're also in battle against extreme political correctness that threatens our lives."

Hallinan says he "will not arm and train those who wish to do harm to my fellow patriots" and therefore will not allow Muslims to buy guns in his store. He will also offer his gun range free for public use.

"The jihadists said they would do it, and they have. They said they live among us, and they do. We must be prepared, vigilant and equipped to handle any situation that might come our way," he says.

In an interview with CNN, Hallinan said his goal "was to offend as many people as I could, quite honestly, so we could start a conversation about the political correctness that has become overly extreme here in the United States and causing loss of life that we could prevent if we looked at Islam for what it is."

He admits that legally he can't ask every person who comes into his store about their religious beliefs, but says he has the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason.

On the Florida Gun Supply Facebook page, Hallinan has divided opinion. Some posts support his movement – "It only takes one person to start something and others will join. I wish I had the courage to stand up and say the things you just said, but I stand behind it," one post says.

However, many more have condemned the video and Hallinan's views. "Just curious what you're doing to keep us all safe from extremists who gun down people in churches, under the banner of the Confederate flag? Are these people also being banned from gun ranges?" another user writes.

Some have pointed out that there are many white Muslims in the US. "So are you going to ask each person if they are Muslim or not? You do know Muslims come in all shapes and colors right? Lol and you do know that there's millions and millions of white and black Muslims right? You're probably going to have to ask each customer if they are Muslim because you don't want a blonde blue-eyed Muslim to fool you."