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Nov 08, 2013 07:38 AM EST

Washington Students’ Halloween Costume Offends Muslim Community

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After Birmingham University, Washington University (WU) has gotten itself into a controversy over a 'racist' Halloween costume. Around five students from a WU fraternity were dressed as 'Seal Team 6' soldiers and Osama bin Laden.

The viral photo circulated on Facebook shows a student holding an American flag in the background, three students dressed in black tank tops and camouflage pants pointing toy guns at a kneeling student who was wearing a camo shirt, beanie or a turban and a fake gray beard.

This photo sparked controversy and offended several campus community members. Some of them felt it depicted Osama bin Laden being confronted by the U.S. military and to others it simply represented a Muslim stereotype.

Responding to the photo, Mahroh Jagangiri, a senior student, said in a Facebook post that it represents 'a broader, more aggressive (and apparently violent) Islamophobia rampant here at WashU and in the United States.'

"The photo made a costume of the violence Muslim men are subjected to in the United States and abroad and I can't believe that my peers at Wash U would do that," said Jahangiri.

 "This photo and its 'Amurrica' caption imply that 'Amurrica' is white (male) Americans; people with beards, or of darker color, or implicitly Muslims, are not. This photo implies that not only are Muslims not American, their lives are expendable," she wrote.

In a statement to University students and staff, the school's Office of Public Affairs said that they will be reviewing the actions surrounding the Halloween costume. It is unsure whether disciplinary actions will be imposed on the students.

"Whatever the intention, the image has offended and hurt members of our community," the statement said. "The image also is entirely inconsistent with who we are as an institution, our values and the way in which we engage in the world around us. We are deeply disappointed and saddened that this has occurred. We must expect better of ourselves and of each other," CBS Local reports.

 "Every one of our students must feel safe and valued, and must be able to pursue their studies. This is the only way we will create the inclusive community we aim to be," the officials told CBS local.

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