Walmart Israeli soldier costume sparks outrage

A Halloween costume sold by Walmart has some customers upset.

A local civil rights group claims Walmart is opting to trick rather than treat. They're upset about a kids' Halloween costume of an Israeli soldier complete with a toy machine gun.

By design, costumes are meant to illicit a reaction and an 'Israeli soldier' costume did just that, in pockets of the Arab-American community.

"(It) glorifies those who kill Arabs and Muslims and we found that to be offensive," said Fatina Abdrabboh, director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

This particular costume was being sold at Walmart.com among other places.

One online comment read: "Might as well sell a Hitler outfit for children as well, pitiful."

Bit Walmart is significant for a number of reasons here in metro Detroit.

"It's one of the stores that we have always visited, and not only the people who come to the Islamic Center," said Mansour Sharha, Islamic Center of Detroit vice president. "In fact the Muslim community at large appreciates Walmart."

Word traveled fast within the community, both locally and internationally and was met by a strong reaction.

"Insensitivity would cost the corporation quite frankly, in terms of purchasing," said Abdrabboh.

In other words, they were prepared for a boycott. The timing of all this is also relevant because the Islamic Center of Detroit is set to welcome 50 refugee families from Syria on Friday. It planned to give each of them $500 to spend at Walmart. In all, it adds up to about $25,000 in gift cards.

Although, when the Israeli soldier Halloween costumes came to light, they changed their plans.  

"Walmart will get the message and they will get it very soon," said Sharha.

FOX 2 reached out to Walmart but did not receive a comment.

UPDATE: It appears the collective voice of Arab-Americans has been heard and Walmart.com has taken down the costume. So as a show of good faith the Islamic center of Detroit will continue to spend their money there.


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