Facing backlash, U.S. Muslims opposite with new promotion campaign | Reuters

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. In California’s collateral city of Sacramento this month, sheer black billboards loomed over highways and faded blurb strips, charity condolence to a troubled: “Looking for a answers in life?” one asked. “Discover Muhammad.”

With messages that are partial eremite invitation to try a Muslim faith and partial open relations, a billboards anchor a inhabitant debate to showcase Islam as a sacrament of adore and tolerance, directed during Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

But a debate by a mainstream Islamic Circle of North America, that is sponsoring billboards in other cities to ventilate a Muslim prophet’s message, could also hint a recoil amid a spike in anti-Islamic perspective noted by protests, promotion campaigns and infrequently desolation and violence.

“We suspicion a correct proceed would be to indeed teach a incomparable open about his personality, that exemplifies adore and brotherhood,” pronounced Waqas Syed, ICNA Deputy Secretary General.

The billboard debate is not a initial high-profile bid by a Muslim organisation to accelerate Islam’s picture in America, tarnished by belligerent attacks. But it is a largest such bid by ICNA, a organisation many closely identified with billboard campaigns in new years, and it includes some billboards that are clearly evangelical.

“Under a circumstances, it’s a flattering confidant move,” pronounced Todd Green, a highbrow who studies Islamophobia, or fear of Islam, during Luther College in Iowa. “When you’re a minority religion, we face a lot of vigour from a infancy race not to proselytize.”

By seeking Americans to learn Mohammad, a debate is identical in some ways to efforts by devout Christians whose roadside billboards, generally in a U.S. heartland, have sought to pull Americans into their overlay with messages compelling Jesus as a Messiah, he said.

Organisers pronounced they launched a programme as a response to a lethal Paris conflict by Islamist militants on a French satirical repository Charlie Hebdo in Jan over a anti-Muslim cartoons, aiming their summary in partial during other Muslims to contend that assault is not an suitable response to provocation.

By coincidence, a initial billboards went adult days after dual U.S. Muslim gunmen were killed in May as they attempted to conflict a Texas vaunt of cartoons depicting Mohammad, and shortly before heavily armed anti-Islam protesters demonstrated outward a Phoenix mosque.

A prior billboard debate by ICNA dual years ago invited Americans to see similarities between Christianity and Islam, that views Jesus as a soothsayer yet not a saviour or a messiah. A debate by another U.S. Muslim organisation attempted to uncover non-violent interpretations of jihad, such as a holy onslaught to lead a dignified life.

Both campaigns stirred indignant responses, and in a box of a “My Jihad” campaign, an hostile organisation put adult signs and billboards joining Islam with violence.


The latest campaign, paid for by internal ICNA chapters, will eventually embody about 100 billboards from Philadelphia to Baltimore, Atlanta and Miami.

Some signs, like those in Sacramento, are clearly invitations to try a Muslim faith while others aim to execute Mohammad as a believer of women’s rights and eremite tolerance.

“Kindness is a symbol of faith,” a billboard in Elizabeth, New Jersey, reads. In Miami, another offers, “Muhammad believed in peace, amicable justice, women’s rights.”

Sharing that perspective of Mohammad is some-more critical to ICNA than proselytizing, Syed said, yet newcomers who wish to modify would be welcomed.

Muslims make adult 0.9 percent of a U.S. population, yet a series is approaching to double by 2050, driven by immigration, high birth rates and a immature population, a Pew Research Center says.

The initial call of signs, including those in Sacramento and Los Angeles, came down final week. New ones will be posted in San Francisco, Dallas and other cities in entrance weeks. Despite tensions, a billboards have not been defaced, and disastrous responses have been few, pronounced Imam Khalid Griggs, clamp boss of ICNA and personality of a mosque in North Carolina.

Last week, a organisation that fears radical Islam will grow in a United States erected billboards around St. Louis display animation drawings of Mohammad, meant to gibe a religion’s anathema on depicting his image. In February, a Washington, D.C. mosque was vandalised twice in one week.

In Elizabeth, New Jersey, where one ICNA billboard went up, Tyler Coltelli, a 23-year-old Catholic, pronounced a pointer done him uncomfortable: “You should be means to use your possess faith, yet we don’t indispensably determine with perplexing to modify people from a streets.”

But Bodia Wardany, a parishioner during a Salam Islamic Center in Sacramento said: “I consider it’s a good idea, deliberation all a misperceptions about a faith and a terrorist, immoderate groups misrepresenting a faith itself.”

(Additional stating by Sebastian Malo in Elizabeth, New Jersey and Laila Kearney in New York; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Lisa Lambert)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.