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Investigators Want To Know Who Replaced VI and US Flags With Black ‘Allah’ Flags In St. Thomas

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE — FBI investigators along with local police converged upon the entrance of the Cyril E. King International Airport this morning after a report came in that the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands and nine other flags that normally hang on a welcome monument at the beginning of the airport road were replaced with black flags that said “Allah.”

The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) said in a prepared statement at 10:28 a.m. that it had launched an investigation into the removal of the authorized flags. VIPA said its law enforcement officers reported that upon arrival to the airport early this morning, they noticed that all the flags were removed from the 11 poles at the monument and replaced with black flags. The substitute flags have since been removed.

The Port Authority said it has reported the incident to the FBI, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD).

“The matter is still under investigation,” the VIPA release said. “Security at the airport has been heightened. The Cyril E. King Airport will remain open and functioning as normal, and all flights will arrive and depart as scheduled.”

Meanwhile St. Thomas Sen. Dwayne DeGraff said the person who removed the proper flags has a “blatant disrespect for the people of the territory.”

“This kind of behavior is totally unacceptable,” DeGraff said, “And I’m calling for a full investigation by local and federal authorities in this matter.”

Although rumors persisted that at least one of the flags included the terrorist group ISIS’s name, VIPA said it wasn’t true.

“None of the flags have ISIS on it,” VIPA spokewoman Monifa Brathwaite said. “They were all identical flags as shown in the photos.”

Arabic speakers use the word “Allah” for God. It is of Aramaic derivation.


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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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