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US Faiths Unite Against Anti-Islam Ads

Published: 12/06/2014 03:47:25 AM GMT
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WASHINGTON – Countering hate speech promoted by Washington anti-Islam bus ads, several campaigns and rallies have been organized in Washington and Maryland to present the true-face of Islam. “This advertising campaign is an opportunity for people to learn about Islam's commitment to freedom of religion, diversity and peaceful coexistence...(more)

WASHINGTON – Countering hate speech promoted by Washington anti-Islam bus ads, several campaigns and rallies have been organized in Washington and Maryland to present the true-face of Islam.

“This advertising campaign is an opportunity for people to learn about Islam's commitment to freedom of religion, diversity and peaceful coexistence encouraged by the teachings of the Qur’an,” the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net on Wednesday, June 11.

In its statement, the leading Muslim advocacy group, CAIR, announced its planned counter campaign to combat recent anti-Islam ads that hit Washington DC buses.

The details of its awareness campaign would be announced at a press conference that is due to be held at its Capitol Hill headquarters in Washington on Wednesday.

Last May, a new ad campaign hit Washington DC with a strong anti-Muslim message that falsely links Islam to Nazism, sparking US Muslims’ outrage.

Launched by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), spearheaded by Pamela Geller, the controversial ad showed Adolf Hitler meeting with Palestinian grand mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini.

Denouncing the anti-Muslim campaign, CAIR has been developing on its own bus ads “to promote mutual understanding as a response to Geller's hate ad”.

CAIR has also responded by offering free Qur’ans to anyone who wish to verify the inaccuracy of ADFI's message.

Along with Muslims, the inflammatory ads have sparked wider condemnations from US interfaith leaders.

On Monday, dozens of people attended a news conference and rally that was organized by the Montgomery County Faith Community Working Group.

Held at Rockville Metro station, the rally was attended by Maryland's Baha’is, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Protestants, Roman Catholics, Sikhs, and representatives of the Unitarian Universalist and Zoroastrian communities.

“Freedom is not free,” James Stow, director of the county’s Office of Humans Rights, who supported Monday's protest, told the Gazzette.net.

“It’s heavy lifting,” Stow added.

Raising Awareness

Leaders of the Muslim community who participated in the rally said that they are “concerned with the message of division, bigotry and hate”, aiming to raise awareness about their faith.

“I came today to help bring awareness to the community, and bring unity,” said Imam Faizul Khan, an administrator with the Islamic Society of the Washington Area and co-chairman of the Faith Community Advisory Council.

“I believe the best next step is to create an infection of love in Montgomery County and continue our momentum.”

The rally was praised by faith leaders who deemed it a “good step forward”.

“These ads are trying to say the Qur’an calls for hatred of Judaism,” said Ira Weiss, who represented the Jewish Islam Dialogue Society, which works to bring together Muslims and Jews.

“It is easy to cherryp-ick nasty parts of Scripture in any text — they were written thousands of years ago,” Weiss said at the news conference in Rockville.

“These words used in the ads are like the devil using Scripture against its religion.”

Geller, who has bragged online that she uses a Qur’an as a doorstop, was the subject of a CAIR “Islamophobe profile” documenting the individuals and organizations involved in spreading anti-Muslim bias in the United States.

CAIR also listed her as a member of the “inner core” of those promoting anti-Muslim bigotry.

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here

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