IMPORTANT UPDATES BELOW
The owner of an online discount mats store has seen his business shut down and his family threatened after an employee sent a nasty note to a soldier serving in Iraq.
Faisal Khetani, the owner of Discount-Mats.com, said his site has been forced offline after being flooded with e-mails and Web attacks, and his personal information has been copied onto numerous sites.
Now, I’m all for pointing out “unpatriotic” and “anti-patriotic” stuff, and in a case like this I’d be totally in favor of a “boycott Discount-Mats.com” campaign. I certainly don’t have a problem with a campaign of phone and email complaints. But personal threats and posting personal information is going a bit far.
The problems started earlier this month when Sgt. Jason Hess, a soldier with the Headquarters Troop of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, e-mailed the business to see if he could get gym mats for a garage-turned-conference room at his camp in Taji.
An unidentified employee of the Wisconsin-based company replied within a few hours:
–We do not ship to APO addresses, and even if we did, we would NEVER ship to Iraq. If you were sensible, you and your troops would pull out of Iraq.”
The page at right is what you get right now when you go to www.discount-mats.com. The employee has been fired. Mission accomplished. If they want to make a formal apology to the Sgt. Jason Hess and his unit, that would certainly help smooth things over and get Discount-Mats back into everyone’s better graces, of course.
Though Discount-Mats has done the right thing by firing the employee and offering a general apology stating that the employee’s message was a personal opinion and not the policy of the company, co-owner Faisal Khetani, who is apparently an American Muslim of Pakistani descent, said
I will say this, my company most certainly doesn’t support the war, and we do hope that the policies will change. However the personal opinions stated by the former member of Discount-Mats.com were very strong and personal and other members within our company certainly feel that his actions were not justified.
That quote comes from NewsByUs, though the source is not identified. The site also claims
Khetani also threatened Kirkland with unleashing the wrath of –major muslim organizations” on her for her –insults”. He closed by telling Kirkland, –you can be sure that there are million of muslim activists as well that will do something about your foul statements…. your statements against Muslims and your direct insults will not go unheard, I assure you.”
Though again, the source of this quote (or even of Miss Kirkland’s identity) are missing.
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
Anti-war and free speech advocates were equally offended, by the widespread criticism of the company and the individual who responded to the soldier.
“This is a matter of free speech,” said Julie Enslow, an organizer with Peace Action Wisconsin in Milwaukee. “It is totally irresponsible for radio stations and bloggers to attack a person for his personal political views.”
Othman Atta, president of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, said he would fault the worker for his lack of tact but defended his right to speak his mind.
Yes, this is a matter of free speech. The employee exercised his, and the people who heard about it are exercising theirs. Funny how free speech activists always think free speech only works one way.
For the record, Murdoc does not favor releasing personal information, but as in this case the business address is the same as the home address, I guess it’s fair game. Still, personal attacks, real attacks, not name-calling, are definitely taking it too far.
UPDATE: First, I finally got around to checking out an email from Euphoric Reality, and they were all over this yesterday: Who Are The Muslims Behind The Sham Websites?.
They’ve got a ton of links and research, so go check it out. Really.
One thing I must say, however, is that much of the business model they point out isn’t very different from exactly what many self-employed folks do, including some that I know. Yes, some of these products they’re selling appear to be a crock, and from what I can gather many of the sites aren’t maintained all that well. But, again, this isn’t terribly uncommon for those who work from home via the internet.
Here’s the rundown Euphoric Reality has:
1. Owned by Muslim men in their mid-20s, who live in the Milwaukee area.
2. Inter-connected and inter-linked to one another.
3. Four sites share a Paypal account under the name –Bargain Suppliers” (WLWR, BDP, QDS, DM)
4. Share same website template.
5. Identical configuration.
6. All sites changed WHOIS registry to anonymous registrant (with the exception of Discount-Mats and Quality-Discount-Scooters).
They also point out that most of the domains are registered with privacy protection and that many in the family are closely involved.
With the exception of #1, they’ve just described Murdoc’s websites.
Anyway, they also have links to some of the sources that NewsByUs used but didn’t bother linking to.
I will certainly agree that some of this looks more than a little fishy. But the internet set-up isn’t really one of the smelly bits. Anyway, go read.