KEMAH, TX (KTRK) --Signs with what some are calling anti-Hinduism messages are on full display inside and outside the Dairy Queen in Kemah.
"It was founded on philosophy. It's the foundation of racism," says owner Muhammed Dar.
Dar has operated this restaurant for 26 years. He put a sign outside more than a year ago calling the religion "Monkey ism." And he put more signs in the lobby and on the drive-thru window about six months ago.
"I was just very shocked that someone would say something like this that is so blatantly racist. Because he's part of my religious community, I was also kind of embarrassed by his statement," explains Arsalan Safiulla with the Houston office of the Council on American Islamic Relations.
Safiulla says the signs are confusing.
"Someone had to explain to me what he was trying to get at," Safiulla said.
Houston attorney and Hindu Raj Mahadass says, "It is saddening that someone would falsely and generally compare Hindus to animals and call them racist based on images of deities and unsubstantiated statements."
Dairy Queen asked him months ago to take the signs down. A spokesperson sent us a statement that reads in part: "The actions and statements of this individual franchisee are not representative of ADQ's corporate values, nor of our iconic family brand. We support and welcome all customers, and expect our franchisees to do the same."
Some wondered if Kemah would lose its DQ because of this. New ownership is set to take over Wednesday.
"Dairy Queen is not shutting me down," says Dar. "They tried to talk to me. I told them it is my First Amendment right."
The signs will go with him, and he'll focus on sharing his message with anyone who will listen.