A snapchat photo has prompted Minnesota officials to rethink its process for issuing personalized license plates.
Local affiliate Fox 9 reports that a high school student took a picture of a license plate that read “FMUSLMS.” St. Cloud-based Somali activist Haji Yusuf then shared the photo on Facebook and via community group Unite Cloud, encouraging followers to message the state.
— #UNITECLOUD (@UniteCloudMN) February 21, 2016
In response, the Department of Public Safety confirmed that the plates were issued to a man in Foley, Minnesota, in June 2015, and released a statement:
This personalized license plate should never have been issued; it is offensive and distasteful. We are in the process of revoking and taking possession of the plates today. The Department of Public Safety apologizes for this error. The Driver and Vehicle Services Division is reviewing its process for approving personalized license plates today and will immediately provide additional review and oversight of applications.
Minnesota governor Mark Dayton also commented, saying, “I am appalled that this license plate was issued by the State of Minnesota. It is offensive, and the person who requested it should be ashamed. That prejudice has no place in Minnesota.”
There is currently no language on the state’s personalized plates application that prohibits hate speech. Minnesota is home to the nation’s largest Somali community; Islam is the primary religion of Somalia.