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Twin Oaks Lanes owner draws ire for anti-Muslim comments

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    Twin Oaks Lanes is located at 2816 W Sylvania Ave. in West Toledo.

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    Jeff Kuhnle, who owns and operates Twin Oaks Lanes at 2816 West Sylvania Avenue, is under fire for at least a dozen anti-Muslim comments posted on social media.

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    Jeff Kuhnle, who owns and operates Twin Oaks Lanes at 2816 West Sylvania Avenue, is under fire for at least a dozen anti-Muslim comments posted on social media.

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The owner of a West Toledo bowling alley is under fire for anti-Muslim comments he made on social media in recent years.

Jeff Kuhnle — who owns and operates Twin Oaks Lanes at 2816 West Sylvania Ave. with his wife, Sharon — is accused of repeatedly making hateful remarks about Muslims on his Facebook page. In screenshots obtained by The Blade, Mr. Kuhnle used phrases such as “muk-muks” and “towel heads” to describe them.

In a 2016 post, Mr. Kuhnle said he and his wife were out to eat when they noticed a “group of goat doinkers” sitting behind them.

“Meal was good, but made sure we had plenty of bacon in front of us,” the post said.

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Jeff Kuhnle, who owns and operates Twin Oaks Lanes at 2816 West Sylvania Avenue, is under fire for at least a dozen anti-Muslim comments posted on social media.

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Mr. Kuhnle, in another 2016 post, said he would no longer buy from a local merchant because “the place is run by non-English speaking muk-muks.” A post from 2017 references “goat lovers,” and another claimed Michigan gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed was “another Muslim trying to take over.”

In response, a protest is being planned for 6 p.m. Friday across the street from the business. Ruth Leonard, who works with the Community Solidarity Response Network of Toledo and helped organize the protest, said she is disgusted by the remarks.

“For him to use social media to spread hate is just ridiculous,” she said. “This is the type of rhetoric that fuels hatred in communities. Toledo is a welcoming city and we encourage people from all different backgrounds to come live and thrive in the city.

“We want him to know that we as a community will not tolerate that kind of hatred and bigotry.”

Ms. Leonard said she would like to see the bowling alley close or change ownership. 

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Jeff Kuhnle, who owns and operates Twin Oaks Lanes at 2816 West Sylvania Avenue, is under fire for at least a dozen anti-Muslim comments posted on social media.

Enlarge

Mr. Kuhnle denied having anything against Arabs or Muslims.

He said Tuesday that one of the comments in question was made after he and his wife were attacked at Franklin Park Mall.

“I didn’t go after Arabs; these were full-garbed Muslims,” Mr. Kuhnle said. “I was physically attacked at the mall. It was just a blurt-out after we were attacked one time.”

He added his post about the local merchant was fueled by his wife being “ogled and pointed at in a sexual manner” when she visited the business.

He also said he is in contact with Toledo Police regarding harassing phone calls and threats made against his business.

According to a police report provided to The Blade, Ms. Kuhnle notified police Sunday of threatening phone calls and Facebook messages — including a person threatening to burn down the bowling alley.

Mr. Kuhnle deactivated his Facebook page Tuesday.

Islamic Center of Greater Toledo spokesman Najwa Badawi called the posts “hurtful insults.”

“These stale jokes are borderline sad when a person has to resort to such extent to get attention,” Ms. Badawi said. “[Mr. Kuhnle] is more than welcome to visit us at the Islamic Center, break bread with us, and learn about what we stand for. We Muslim Americans are very much part of and proud of our country and what it stands for: freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and respect for all.” 

Imam Talal Eid of the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo said he’s reluctant to respond to the comments, but would like to sit down with Mr. Kuhnle.

“I feel sad that he is unable to differentiate between Islam as a religion and Muslims who are the followers of Islam,” Imam Eid said. “As in every religion, there are the good and the bad, especially those who abuse the teachings of their religion.

“But I would like to have an opportunity to meet with Mr. Khunle at his place if he accepts. Or if it is OK with him, I would like to invite him for a cup of coffee and dessert during the week, or lunch on Sunday at ICGT.”

Screen shots of Mr. Kuhnle’s posts have been widely shared on social media, and Twin Oaks’ Yelp and Facebook pages are littered with negative reviews referencing Mr. Kuhnle’s remarks.

Contact Jay Skebba at jskebba@theblade.com, 419-376-9414, or on Twitter @JaySkebba.

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