PINELLAS PARK - A city man has launched a protest against the liberal establishment, Osama Bin Laden and a cast of others by symbolically flushing their names down a disconnected toilet in his driveway.
Michael DeWitt Allen, 6221 62nd Ave. N., first sparked the controversy a month ago when he wanted to perform the protest on the front lawn of city hall. That plan was rejected by officials.
Allen also symbolically flushed part of the Koran down the toilet because he said Muslim religious leaders fail to object to the terrorism tactics of Islamic extremists.
City Manager Michael B. Gustafson called the protest “offensive,” but noted that Allen has a constitutional right to make a political statement.
Allen received a summons for code violations from police Sgt. Tracey Schofield, not so much for the toilet but for the appliances and other items on his property that were in full view.
Allen, a former Naval aviation electronics expert and Vietnam veteran, said he flushes the names of certain political leaders who “deface the name of President (George W.) Bush and the U.S. military.
“I hate what some people say about our troops,” Allen said.
He served aboard two aircraft carriers during his stint in Vietnam and as a civilian worked in aircraft electronics, as a car salesman, a newspaper publisher, and, finally as a real estate agent. He is now retired.
Allen said a neighbor gave him the toilet bowl about three years ago. It lingered on his property until he decided to use it for the protest.
It sat in the middle of his driveway with a sign reading, “Koran Flush, 1 P.M.” That sign drew the ire of city officials and of at least one Muslim group, the Council on American and Islamic Relations.
“Mr. Allen agreed to stop the protest when I proved that Islamic leaders are very concerned about terrorism,” Ahmed Bedler of Tampa said.
“We have denounced the murders of innocent civilians by radicals,” Bedler said. “Mr. Allen misinterpreted some information and we were able to prove that Muslims are very concerned over the actions of a few.”
Bedler said protests such as Allen’s are “highly offensive,” especially to American-born Muslims.