(UPDATE 3:55 p.m. Tuesday: This story has been updated with additional information after CAIR-MN extended an invitation to the Lonsdale business owner to visit the Faribault mosque.)

It didn’t take long for a sign in Lonsdale that reads “MUSLIMS GET OUT” to require police involvement.

And roughly 24 hours after police responded, the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) announced its plans to extend an invitation to the business owner to meet with Muslim community at the Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center in Faribault.

"Our experience has shown that interaction with ordinary American Muslims and enhanced knowledge of Islam are key factors in the reduction of Islamophobic attitudes," said CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein in a statement. "We invite Mr. Ruedinger to visit the mosque in Faribault and to learn more about Muslims and Islam in Minnesota."

After a weekend of national news coverage of alleged attacks in New York, New Jersey and St. Cloud, Dan Ruedinger, owner of Treats Family Restaurant in Lonsdale, said he couldn’t take it any longer, and took to his sign to voice his opinion.

On Monday morning, Ruedinger changed his outdoor business sign to read, “MUSLIMS GET OUT," before later adding "IN SUPPORT OF ST CLOUD."

“I’ve had enough and I’m standing up,” he said. “With all the bombs and shootings we’ve had, we’re supposed to welcome refugees here who want to kill us? This has nothing to do with race, it has to do with a religion of hatred that preaches violence.

“Some Muslims are good people and want a better life. They need to step up, take control and hold the others accountable.”

Not long after changing the sign, an incident prompted a call to police.

Chief Jason Schmitz said an adult female didn’t agree with the sign and stopped at the restaurant, and proceeded to pull the letters from the sign. Schmitz said the owner told her to stop and a small “altercation” then occurred.

On Tuesday, Schmitz said there was an additional call early Tuesday morning which reported a window being reportedly broken at the business, in addition to a note that was left. Additional information about that note was not immediately available.

The sign has also led to many voicing their opinions on social media, specifically on a Lonsdale-focused Facebook page. Some claim the businessman has the right, while others condemned his decision. But freedom of speech goes both ways, and on Monday evening, those who disagreed with the “MUSLIMS GET OUT” statement on the sign at Treats Family Restaurant, formed a peaceful protest outside of the establishment.

With posters in hand, they worked to bring awareness to the sign that they say offends them with “a racist statement.”

Just as protesters were gathering on Railway Street, Treats Family Restaurant owner Karen Ruedinger was just a few feet away adding the words “IN SUPPORT OF ST CLOUD” below “MUSLIMS GET OUT.”

“I do not agree with their sign,” stated protester Payten Estepp, of Lonsdale. “It’s not Muslims, it’s ISIS. That’s blaming a whole group for something one person did. I saw a picture of the sign on Facebook and thought ‘That’s not OK.’”

“I’ve lived here for 24 years and that sign is the exact opposite of the family values the restaurant claims to have,” added protester Samantha Wilson, of Lonsdale. “I believe in freedom of speech but stereotyping based on religion is ridiculous.”

Protester Grace Revier, age 14, of Lonsdale, didn't agree, either.

“I think that saying Muslims can’t be somewhere is terrible," she said. "We learn in school to be respectful of everyone.”

As the protesters were standing there, some showed support for what they were doing, but at least one person who disagreed with their stance attempted to start an altercation.

Lonsdale Mayor Tim Rud issued a public statement following the incident at the restaurant mid-day Monday.

“Certainly and in no way does the city condone discrimination.”

CAIR-MN, the state’s leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, said in a statement that the invitation will allow Ruedinger to “interact with Muslims and learn more about Islam and the local Muslim community,” according to the statement.

The Lonsdale Area News-Review has a reporter on scene. Check back for additional updates as they become available.

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Story as originally posted Tuesday at 8 a.m.:

It didn’t take long for a sign in Lonsdale that reads “MUSLIMS GET OUT” to require police involvement.

But where Lonsdale Police stepped in was for an “altercation,” as Lonsdale Police Chief Jason Schmitz said the business owner is within his First Amendment right to put up the statement.

After a weekend of national news coverage of alleged attacks in New York, New Jersey and St. Cloud, Dan Ruedinger, owner of Treats Family Restaurant in Lonsdale, said he couldn’t take it any longer, and took to his sign to voice his opinion.

On Monday morning, Ruedinger changed his outdoor business sign to read, “MUSLIMS GET OUT," before later adding "IN SUPPORT OF ST CLOUD."

“I’ve had enough and I’m standing up,” he said. “With all the bombs and shootings we’ve had, we’re supposed to welcome refugees here who want to kill us? This has nothing to do with race, it has to do with a religion of hatred that preaches violence.

“Some Muslims are good people and want a better life. They need to step up, take control and hold the others accountable.”

By Monday afternoon, an incident over the sign prompted a call to police.

Chief Schmitz said an adult female didn’t agree with the sign and stopped at the restaurant, and proceeded to pull the letters from the sign. Schmitz said the owner told her to stop and a small “altercation” then occurred.

Schmitz said there were no injuries reported and no arrests made.

The sign, located at 115 SW Railway St., has also led to many voicing their opinions on social media, specifically on a Lonsdale-focused Facebook page. Some claim the businessman has the right, while others condemned his decision.

Freedom of speech goes both ways, and on Monday evening, those who disagreed with the “MUSLIMS GET OUT” statement on the sign at Treats Family Restaurant, formed a peaceful protest outside of the establishment.

With posters in hand, they worked to bring awareness to the sign that they say offends them with “a racist statement.”

Just as protesters were gathering on Railway Street, Treats Family Restaurant owner Karen Ruedinger was just a few feet away adding the words “IN SUPPORT OF ST CLOUD” below “MUSLIMS GET OUT.”

“I do not agree with their sign,” stated protester Payten Estepp, of Lonsdale. “It’s not Muslims, it’s ISIS. That’s blaming a whole group for something one person did. I saw a picture of the sign on Facebook and thought ‘That’s not OK.’”

“I’ve lived here for 24 years and that sign is the exact opposite of the family values the restaurant claims to have,” added protester Samantha Wilson, of Lonsdale. “I believe in freedom of speech but stereotyping based on religion is ridiculous.”

Protester Grace Revier, age 14, of Lonsdale, didn't agree, either.

“I think that saying Muslims can’t be somewhere is terrible," she said. "We learn in school to be respectful of everyone.”

As the protesters were standing there, some showed support for what they were doing, but at least one person who disagreed with their stance attempted to start an altercation.

Lonsdale Mayor Tim Rud issued a public statement following the incident at the restaurant mid-day Monday.

“Certainly and in no way does the city condone discrimination.”

Lori Nickel is the publisher and editor of the Lonsdale News-Review. Reach her at 507-744-2551. Regional Editor Brad Phenow contributed to this report. 

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