From The San Diego Union Tribune:
Muslim business owners in southeastern San Diego are angry over the city’s ordering the removal of 16 green-and-white Ramadan banners from lampposts this week.
For the past five years, the signs have been a fixture in the community during the monthlong holiday, a time of fasting and prayer. The banners feature a half moon, a star and the words “Ramadan Mubarak,” which mean blessed Ramadan.
Yet, this week, a city code enforcement officer who received a complaint said the banners needed to be taken down because of their religious content.
Abdur-Rahim Hameed, president of the Black Contractors Association, said the removal of the Ramadan banners is “a very upsetting thing.” He questions whether Christmas displays are also going to be outlawed by the city.
The code officer who inspected the banners found they didn’t meet city code because of their religious subject matter. The officer’s supervisor, code enforcement coordinator Melody Negrete, also noted that the Diamond Business Improvement District, which runs the neighborhood’s banner program, had not obtained a permit to display them.
The city asked the district, which stores the banners and pays to have them put up and taken down every year, to immediately take down the banners. The district complied the following day, the district’s executive director, Cordell Thomas, said.
The city of San Diego reimburses the district for putting up and removing the banners, Thomas said.
Negrete said the officer cited city code that says “banners shall be used for the purpose of promoting cultural or civic events or activities of general public interest.” The officer also referred to a city special event flier, which says that “the banners cannot be political or religious in subject matter.”