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‘Isis’ bookstore in Denver changes sign – but not name – after vandalism

DENVER -- A longtime Denver business has removed the name Isis from its sign out front, but it’s not changing its name any time soon.

Last month, Karen Charboneau-Harrison spoke to FOX31 Denver after someone threw a brick through the sign for Isis Books and Gifts. It was just the latest case of vandalism against the business in the months following the rise of the terrorist organization commonly referred to as ISIS.

"I don't know if somebody walking down the street just saw our name on the sign and kind of lost it for a moment and threw a rock through it,” Charboneau-Harrison said. “Or if it was an ignorant person who actually thought this was a bookstore for terrorists, I don't know."

More than a month later, the inside of the store hasn’t changed and neither has its name, which honors the Egyptian goddess who represents women, magic and healing, but the new sign outside the store has changed. It now has a painting of Isis, but the name simply says “Goddess Book and Gifts”.

"People are a little bit on edge and there's no need to play into that and incite any sort of ridiculousness,” Karen said.

Charboneau-Harrison says the ridiculousness of the past year has included threats and several acts of vandalism after apparent confusion with the ISIS terrorists. Though she vows to keep the name of the store intact, she says the decision to change the sign came after hours of careful consideration for the safety of her customers and employees.

"You know, we feel very strongly about the name Isis, but we feel just as strongly that we don't want to be waving a red flag that would entice ignorant people to act out of their ignorance," Charboneau-Harrison said.

Since FOX31 Denver first reported on the vandalism, Charboneau-Harrison says there have been no other threats against the store, and she says the popularity of the story restored her faith in people.

The store's Facebook post about the vandalism has been shared more than 4,000 times and flooded with messages of support from around the world. That support has also been felt inside the business. Customers raised funds for the new sign and continue to buy bumper stickers urging others to support the store and the name.

"We had people coming in here who said, 'I don't shop at your store but I just want you to know that I'm 100 percent behind you,'" she said.