A Columbia, SC Barak Obama themed gas station, called “Obama Mart,” has lost its license to sell beer and wine after a Judge ruled that the store is a public nuisance. Local Black “community leaders” and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department say it is a hub for crime.
The community leaders originally filed complaints in early 2020. The Wiley Kennedy Foundation credits their founder Glen Singletary with leading the effort. They say the gas station is a hub for public drunkenness, prostitution, vagrancy, and threatening behavior.
The owner, Sadeq Alaqar, claims he is being unfairly targeted because his is Muslim. Alaqar told the media “It’s not my problem. If people here on the street who smoke crack, sell weed – I sell beer and wine.”
There is a history of Black community leaders in South Carolina clashing with Arab business owners.
In April of 2017, James Johnson, the South Carolina president of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network [NAN], held a press conference in front of Andrew’s Discount Market in North Charleston. Johnson called on the shop’s owners and employees to go back to the Middle East, saying “we want [them] out of our community completely. We want him gone out of the community. They need to go back to their country where their laws are different from our laws.”
Johnson also stated, “We sending a message to all the Arab and the foreigner stores in North Charleston and the city of Charleston that we gonna stop you from taking money from our community and putting none back in it.”
He then told the media he would no longer let foreigners “rape our community anymore.” Johnson is an official spokesman for NAN, who speaks on behalf of the group all the time.