Claim: A Texas man was forced to take his American flag down because its display threatened Muslims.
WHAT'S TRUE: A Texas man was asked by his apartment complex management to remove a flag attached to his balcony railing.
WHAT'S FALSE: The resident was ordered to remove his flag because it was deemed "threatening" to Muslims.
Origin:In early 2016, a false claim from 2014 about a Texas man supposedly forced to take down his American flag it because it offended Muslims was resurrected on social media. Those who spread this claim in early 2016 believed that the events it described were both accurate and recent, although neither aspect was correct:
Social media users who ventured to click through to read the underlying article before re-sharing could have spotted that the events in question took place in June 2014, as described in a contemporaneous Fox News article:
A Texas man is standing defiant after he claims he was told by his apartment complex that he had to remove an American flag from his balcony because it was a "threat towards the Muslim community."
Duy Tran [said] that he has friends who died for the country, so he decided to hang one from his balcony after moving into a new apartment in Webster, Texas. However, he said that soon after he hung the flag, he was told by his apartment complex manager he had to remove it.
"What really stunned me is that she said it's a threat towards the Muslim community," Tran told the station. "I'm not a threat toward nobody."
However, no other parties substantiated Tran's assertion that he was asked to remove his U.S. flag due solely (or even partly) to the reason that it was considered "threatening" to any Muslims. Houston television station KHOU obtained comment from the Lodge at El Dorado, the apartment complex where Tran's supposedly threatening flag was displayed, and the manager of that business stated that the issue with the Tran's flag was the manner of its display (i.e., hung on an apartment balcony railing) and not the mere fact that it was a U.S. flag or was considered a "threatening" symbol to Muslims:
While the Lodge on El Dorado admires our resident's patriotism, we must enforce our property rules and guidelines. Such guidelines maintain the aesthetics of our apartment community and provide for the safety of all residents. The apartment community already proudly displays our country's flag in a safe and appropriate manner at the entrances to our community.
Of course, it makes no sense whatsoever that if the business' management were truly again displaying the American flag (for any reason), they would crack down its exhibition by one single resident while still flying the very same flag at the entrance to their apartment complex. And the KHOU reported noted that "we saw other patriotic symbols hanging from other balconies in the complex," so the issue was pretty clearly about the manner of the flag's display and not any issues regarding its symbolism.
Last updated: 10 February 2016
Originally published: 10 February 2016