This billboard is being set to be launched in Raleigh soon.
The "terrorists" are set against the background of the winding mountain road with Arab script above their heads. The group claims to have a gripe against the security of North Carolina driver's licenses; however, as Lance has posted earlier, none of the 9/11 terrorists had North Carolina driver's licenses, despite claims by North Carolina representatives that they did.
Eric Muller at Is That Legal? compares this billboard to racist ads 60 years ago about the danger of Japanese-Americans.:
Could there possibly be a more blatant equation of Arabs and Muslims with terrorist danger?
If this country ever again goes after its own citizens in the ways that it did sixty years ago, will later generations see a billboard like this one the way we now see the below newspaper advertisement from the Seattle newspaper in March 1942, as the mechanics of curfew, exclusion, and internment were being designed?
The advertisement Professor Muller is talking about is a Japanese man hunched over a globe with the caption "Put em up, Mr. Moto". Both ads are disgusting in their attempts to stir up hatred against a race to get unneeded restrictions on our liberties passed.
The Raleigh N&O (1) is reporting that the claims by the group about licensing are not even accurate. They do not take into account recent changes made by the DOT to make licenses more secure:
Ernie Seneca, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said the group is mistaken.
"They're flat wrong, and they're totally inaccurate," Seneca said. "North Carolina has a strong driver's license program, and we have taken significant steps to address security and the identification of license holders."
Specifically, the coalition wants North Carolina to require that applicants for a license to show a valid Social Security card and proof that they are residing in the country legally.
(1) News and Observer link is broken. Old address is http://www.newsobserver.com/664/story/375972.html
Although illegal immigrants qualify for licenses in North Carolina, they have to show at least two valid forms of identification to prove they are who they say they are, Seneca said.
False claims of connections to 9/11, the stirring up of racial hatred, and the equation of all muslims with terrorists...this sounds familiar. At least this time we will only have unnecessary red tape rather than a war as a result.
I will leave you with the understatement of the year from the N&O:
Immigrant advocacy groups fear that the billboard will fuel negative stereotypes about immigrants.