GARWOOD - A Union County man is facing criticism for flying the flag that is now associated with ISIS, the militant group that has been trying to overthrow the Iraqi government.
Mark Dunaway's neighborhood is divided. It began with a tweet, showing the flag outside his Garwood apartment.
"'There is only one God. It is Allah. And the Prophet Muhammed is his messenger.' That's basically what [the flag] says," according to Dunaway.
The flag has now been adopted by ISIS. "The Twitter [post] was the first thing I ever heard about it," he says. "And that caught me off guard."
Dunaway has been flying the flag since he moved onto Winslow Place 10 years ago, well before it became a symbol for ISIS.
The black and white flag has neighbors taking sides on an issue that is anything but black and white.
"I think it's not right at this time to be flying that type of flag," says James McHugh. "Especially with what's going on at this time."
Other neighbors say they are more concerned about the controversy the flag has caused. "The comments people are making are more frightening than the flag he put up," says Diane Figueiredo. Some have said they want to burn it down.
Police could be seen in the neighborhood Wednesday afternoon. One officer pulled up and summoned Dunaway out of his apartment and into his backyard. Police told Dunaway he could fly the flag, and to call him if he had problems.
Dunaway says he doesn't want to make his neighbors uncomfortable.
"If people are that offended by it, it is censorship," he says. "But I might not have to fly it for a while. Maybe one day I'll be able to fly it again."
Dunaway removed the flag given the public concern, but says police didn't force him to take it down.
He replaced the banner with an American Flag in the colors of the San Diego Chargers.