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Muslim shopkeeper threatened in Houston

HOUSTON, July 9 (UPI) -- A Houston shopkeeper's sign that he was closed last Sept. 11 to honor Imam Ali brought him months of grief after it went viral.

Someone posted a photo of the sign at Perfume Planet on the Internet with the erroneous information that Imam Ali was one of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers, the Houston Chronicle reports. Ali, son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed, was assassinated in 661 and is a sacred figure to Shiite Muslims.

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Sajid Master, who owns the store, was accused of being an al-Qaida supporter. Since then, he says, he has received hate mail, threatening phone calls and personal visits.

Master, a U.S. citizen, and his employees have tried to talk to everyone and to answer all letters. Web sites like Snopes.com have also tried to spread the word that Imam Ali, who is honored every year on a different day during Ramadan, was not a terrorist. But Master says the calls keep coming, usually dying down only to pick up when someone starts a new e-mail chain letter.

His landlord also gets calls.

"Sometimes I want to just kick him out," said Myong Yi, manager of Harwin Central Mart. "I get at least one or two calls each day. I want it to stop."

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