—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—
WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 14, 2012) – CAIR National yesterday held a press conference on the issue of subway ads created by an Islamophobic group. Vice President of ICNA Naeem Baig joined Executive Director of CAIR Nihad Awad and CAIR’s National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper in addressing the media and presenting the American Muslim point of view.
CAIR announced an ad campaign which will feature ads in subway stations in Washington, DC. Naeem Baig reminded the media that Islamophobes have a mission to incite hate between American citizens of different faiths and ethnicities. “As Americans we understand the importance of the right to free speech and freedom of expression. American Muslims value this right on behalf of every American citizen and would never shy away from ever defending this right. We also feel that this right to free speech should be seen as a great responsibility. Freedom of expression and willful provocation will have different outcomes, and such is the case of free speech and hate speech. The right to freedom of expression should not be an opportunity to spread hate and pass insults on sacred religious icons. American society is mature enough to recognize that hate speech is not acceptable.”
He also informed the media that ICNA and its outreach projects, WhyIslam and GainPeace have in the past launched ad campaigns on Islam and Shariah through billboards, commuter buses and subways. “We are making all efforts to present the true values of Islam through these mediums,” he said.
Current Efforts by various ICNA Chapters include:
National Essay Competition on Seerah
The Message International announced an essay competition on the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on the topic “How Has Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Influenced My Life?” The competition is for teenaged children, 13 to 17 years old and the winning essay will be published in the January-February 2013 issue of the Message International magazine, which will focus on the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
On September 21st GainPeace, a project of ICNA Chicago, invited the media for a press conference at the Downtown Islamic Center, Chicago to share the sentiments of American Muslims on the anti-Islamic film and the resulting violence in the Muslim world. Click here to watch report on the press conference.
WhyIslam, a project of ICNA NJ, unveiled a billboard on the highly trafficked New Jersey Turnpike, as part of an ongoing effort to counter the anti-Islam campaign that has defamed the religion, Muslims, and the Prophet (PBUH). Countering misinformation and bigotry, the billboard says, “Muhammad, A Mercy to Mankind,” and offers free literature, which is available by calling 1-877-WhyIslam or visiting WhyIslam.org. The billboard is between exit 8a and exit 9 on the turnpike, an area traveled by about 600,000 drivers each week.
WhyIslam has organized a 30 day campaign to help educate the masses about the beautiful character of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Starting September 28th, an authentic saying of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that showcases the beauty of his character will be released daily. The campaign’s hash tag is #iLoveProphetMuhammad. Visit http://www.facebook.com/whyislam and http://www.twitter.com/whyislam
ICNA-NJ held the WhyIslam Symposium on Seerah on Sunday, October 7th, in North Brunswick, NJ. Close to 500 attended the event themed “Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): Our Guide, Our Model.”
Imam Alaeddin El Bakri spoke about the anti-Islam film currently in the news, saying “The movie against the Prophet (PBUH) should make us upset, but it’s how we channel the anger that makes the difference. We should use our skills for Islam, so just as others make movies that mock our beloved Rasulullah (PBUH), we should reciprocate with movies that show the true character of the Prophet (PBUH).”
The love of the Prophet (PBUH) is a key aspect of Islam. Imam Suhaib Webb talked about how Muslims show their love by protecting his honor and following his example. The best way to counter the anti-Muslim advertisements is to be the best advertisement.
Imam Siraj Wahhaj talked about what it means to be an American in the context of his experience while growing up. Boonaa Mohammed presented stories of Muslim heroes who gave selflessly of their capabilities and their resources, leaving legacies of honorable character and resolute determination.
Highlighted during the symposium was the idea that Muslims should focus on what it means to implement the Prophet’s teachings in everyday life and thus rebut the film through their everyday activities and interactions. Also conveyed was the prophetic example that the true test of character, of true strength, is whether a person can control himself when angry.
ICNA Bay Area announced last week that it will be organizing Abraham’s Day in the Bay Area, CA. Hundreds of volunteers will exemplify the prophetic characteristic of goodwill by providing hot meals and other necessities to the less fortunate at multiple locations in San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, and Stockton. Men and women, young and old, will come together across national, racial, ethnic and religious divides, unified in their aim of community service.