Anti-Terrorism Billboard Campaign Offends Arabs in North Carolina

December 13, 2005

Source: USA Today

On December 13, 2005 USA Today reported, "An anti-terrorism campaign by a group that wants tighter restrictions on driver's licenses has angered Arab-Americans who say that an image on a planned billboard — an Arab man holding both a grenade and a license — is racist. The billboard is the work of the New York-based Coalition for a Secure Driver's License, which plans to post an ad with the controversial image this month near North Carolina's state capitol building in Raleigh. A second billboard is scheduled to be installed in late December or early January in Albuquerque, says coalition President Amanda Bowman. She says the group is putting billboards in states it believes have particularly lax policies for scrutinizing applicants for driver's licenses. The campaign comes about seven months after Congress passed the Real ID Act, which calls for states to adopt a uniform way of authenticating documents that people use to obtain driver's licenses. The measure was aimed at closing gaps in state driver's licensing systems that have made it easy for illegal immigrants and others to get licenses by presenting fake IDs and fraudulent documents... The image planned for the Raleigh billboard is imposed over a North Carolina landscape with the slogan 'Don't License Terrorists' above it. The Coalition for a Secure Driver's License is spending about $50,000 each in North Carolina and New Mexico to lease the billboards, spokesman Bill O'Reilly says."