Muslim activists will launch the first TV commercial in Australia about the Prophet Mohammed in a bid to improve the religion's image.
The Islamic community has raised "tens of thousands" of dollars to fund a series of 30-second commercials, due to air on the main television networks from July 9.
They are the brainchild of the Mypeace organization, based at Bankstown, which is attempting to build bridges between the Muslim community and other Australians.
The prime-time ads, set to appear on Channels 7, 9, and 10, and SBS over several months, feature major figures of history including Mahatma Gandhi and George Bernard Shaw extolling the virtues of the Prophet Mohammed.
Mypeace founder Diaa Mohamed yesterday said negotiations with the TV networks were being finalised for the commercials to run in breakfast, afternoon and evening timeslots.
"This is a response to misinformation. Not many (Australians) are aware of who the Prophet is and why we regard him so highly and so emotionally," Mr Mohamed said.
"The commercials will be animated with voice-overs and will have quotes on the screen.
"Mohammed is the most influential man in history and the commercials will show what scholars and historians have said about him."
Gandhi said the prophet "holds undisputed sway over the hearts of millions" and George Bernard Shaw described him as the "savior of humanity".
The image of Sydney's Islamic community was damaged when members rioted in the central business district in September last year over a YouTube video that denigrated the religion.
The TV commercials, described as a "defining moment in Australian Islamic history", will be unveiled at a function in Bankstown on July 6 and begin running on TV from July 9, Mr Mohamed said.
Mypeace is dedicated to addressing "misconceptions about Islam", educating Australians about the religion and inviting questions from outsiders.
"Every dollar goes to our call centre, education classes and media campaigns that include billboards, television commercials and social media," it said.
Sydney has one of the most diverse Muslim communities in the world, with 70 different national and ethnic backgrounds, among them Lebanese, Turkish, Afghan, Egyptian, Indian, Pakistani, Bosnian, South African and Fijian.
Muslim numbers in Australia have soared by 40 per cent to 476,291 in just five years, paving the way for an Islamic building program of schools, mosques and prayer rooms in Sydney and Melbourne.
Bruce McDougall, "Mypeace organisation launches TV commercial to improve image of Islam in Australia " The Telegraph June 28, 2013
"Australian Muslims to Launch TV Ads to Promote Prophet Muhammad" Ghatreh News June 29, 2013
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today