ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer acquitted in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager, is raffling off a painting he made of a Confederate flag to raise money for a Florida gunshop owner who declared his store a Muslim-free zone.
Zimmerman, who gained notoriety during his trial for killing Trayvon Martin in 2012, is selling the painting on a website for the Tampa-area store, Florida Gun Supply, owned by Andrew Hallinan.
Last year Zimmerman sold a painting depicting the American flag on eBay for more than $100,000. The store’s website suggests his latest painting could fetch as much.
The raffle brings together three controversies raging through America.
The Trayvon Martin case highlighted the issue of racial profiling of young black men and the dangers they face when viewed as potential criminals.
The Confederate battle flag, seen by many as a symbol of white supremacy, has emerged as a flashpoint in U.S. race relations since the June massacre at an African-American church in South Carolina by a white man who had posed with the banner.
The case also touches on the issue of discrimination against Muslim-Americans, which has intensified since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by Islamist militants in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Zimmerman, 31, and Hallinan will split the proceeds from the raffle and use the money for living and legal expenses. The proceeds will help advance “their mission to change the country,” the website states.
An unspecified percentage will go as a donation to Boys and Girls Clubs of America, according to the website.
The Florida Council on American-Islamic Relations sued the gunshop last month, complaining that the Muslim ban violated the federal public accommodations law and asking for an injunction to stop it.
The group has also called on the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the ban.
Hallinan, Zimmerman and Zimmerman’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment. Boys and Girls Clubs of America did not immediately respond to an inquiry.
The website offers prints of the painting for $50. Purchasers are automatically entered in the drawing for the original painting, according to the website.
Hallinan declared his store to be Muslim-free after five U.S. servicemen were shot and killed in Tennessee last month by a suspect the FBI said was a Muslim extremist.
Editing by Frank McGurty and Mohammad Zargham
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