PAAIA Raises Concern Over Anti-Iranian Poster in Katy Texas

PAAIA FlameNovember 4, 2011, Washington D.C. – The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) is calling on the owner of local Katy barbecue restaurant to take down an anti-Iranian poster.

The poster ‘Let’s Play Cowboys and Iranians,’ which depicts a lynching scene of an Iranian, has garnered criticism from across the country after one customer took a picture and posted it on Facebook.

The owner, John Nonmacher, has said that he hung the poster up thirty years ago around the time of the Iranian hostage crisis and that it is meant to be humorous. When asked by local reporters about an entire ethnicity being singled out in the poster, Nonmacher replied, “I don’t find it that way. I don’t find that discriminatory,” and indicated that he will not take down the poster.

While PAAIA and all Iranian Americans hold dear the value of freedom of expression, we are concerned that the poster, given its recent publicity, has the potential to encourage xenophobia and hatred towards Americans of Iranian descent. Such unintended consequences are not only damaging to the image of Iranian Americans but also insulting to those living in Iran who welcome democratic reform.

In a letter to the restaurant’s owner, PAAIA Executive Director, Saghi Agha-Khan, conveyed PAAIA’s and the Houston community’s concerns pertaining to the poster. To avoid such misunderstandings, PAAIA is urging Nonmacher to learn more about Iranian Americans and understand why the poster is not only offensive to the community but also insulting to the people of Iran who long for similar rights and freedoms guaranteed to us under the Constitution of the United States.

The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonreligious national membership organization that serves the domestic interests of Iranian Americans and represents the community before U.S. policymakers and the American public at large. PAAIA works to foster greater understanding of our community and its cultural heritage and to expand opportunities for the active participation of Iranian Americans in the democratic process at all levels of government.  

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