(Reuters) - U.S. military authorities told a vendor on a Colorado Army post to stop selling T-shirts depicting the Statue of Liberty clad in a head-to-toe Muslim covering after a shopper complained that they were anti-Islamic, an official said on Wednesday.
The gray T-shirts feature the words "Don't let this happen to America" along with a picture of the Statue of Liberty in a black burqa, the all-covering garment worn in public by many Muslim women.
The kiosk vendor, identified as 'Merica Apparel, was relatively new to the post exchange at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs and had added the offending shirt to its stock on Sunday, Army and Air Force Exchange Service spokesman Chris Ward said.
Ward said a shopper complained about the shirt on Monday, and the Exchange Service ordered the vendor to stop selling it later that day because it violated the service's rules limiting political and religious merchandise.
All merchandise from vendors has to be approved by the service before it can be sold, he said, a rule the seller did not follow for the shirt. He said the vendor was cooperative and no further action was expected to be taken.
"This was just basically a case of a fairly new vendor, who maybe wasn't familiar with our rules and policies and went off on their own," Ward said.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an advocacy group, called the shirt "Islamophobic" and said it "epitomizes the wretched plight of prejudice and bigotry which innocent Muslim-Americans all too often suffer while so honorably serving in today's service branches."
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Mohammad Zargham)