Yard display causing controversy in Bustleton neighborhood

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Yard display causing controversy in Bustleton neighborhood. John Rawlins reports during Action News at 4:30pm on January 28, 2019.

A yard display has caused controversy in the Northeast Philadelphia's Bustleton neighborhood.

A mannequin, which is dressed in Middle Eastern clothing, stands by a sign supporting the building of a border wall.

The mannequin is dressed in vintage Middle East attire, with a Jordanian head covering, next to signs reading "People without BORDERS have no country, BUILD THE WALL."

Images of the mannequin were widely shared on social media.

"The general consensus on social media is that this was hateful toward Muslims," said Mohamed Yosef of the Palestinian-American Community of Greater Philadelphia.

Specifically it was thought to be a reference to the Israeli West Bank wall and a threat to Palestinian women in Philadelphia.

"A lot of people reaching out to me are worried about their sister, worried about their daughters and mothers," said Yosef.

But the creator of the display, Gail Amin, says it is not a threat.

"No, not at all. In fact what I am saying is that we have to learn from history," she said.

Amin once lived in the Middle East and is married to a Palestinian.

Her message? She says there is a need for the U.S. border wall with Mexico that President Trump wants.

Her belief is that the Palestinians lost their homes in the 1940s in part because they did not control their borders.

She sees a potential parallel.

"Unfortunately what happened to them, I don't want to happen to America," said Amin.

Yosef understands Amin has the right to express her views, but he wonders if a mannequin and two signs is the right way to express them.

"I am relieved to hear that this was a misunderstanding and not much of a threat, but with that said: for all others you have right to be heard you do have other ways to send the message out," Yosef said.

Amin said she is not trying to insult anyone, but rather just wants to make the case as to why the United States needs a border wall with Mexico.

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