US Muslims launch ad campaign against terror
WASHINGTON: American Muslims have launched an advertising campaign to denounce acts of terrorism after bombers believed to be British Muslims killed at least 54 people in attacks on London.
“Any effort by terrorists to hide their criminal activities under the mask of religious piety is being categorically and unequivocally rejected by mainstream Muslims,” said Parvez Ahmed, chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He said the television ad, which will air nationwide by July 19, is an attempt to detach Islam from the “heinous” acts of a few Muslims.
Police believe the attacks are linked to Al Qaeda, the Islamic militant group behind the Sept 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and the Madrid train bombings last year. “Backlash is a concern ... but it’s not our main motive,” said CAIR spokeswoman Rabiah Ahmed. “Our main motivation lies with making sure our position is clear where Islam stands on terrorism.”
The 30-second public service spot, called “Not in the Name of Islam,” features two American Muslim women and religious leader Imam Johari Abdul-Malik.
“We often hear claims Muslims don’t condemn terrorism and that Islam condones violence,” they say. “As Muslims, we want to state clearly that those who commit acts of terror in the name of Islam are betraying the teachings of the Koran and the Prophet Mohammed. We reject anyone - of any faith - who commits such brutal acts and will not allow our faith to be hijacked by criminals. Islam is not about hatred and violence. It’s about peace and justice.”
The director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, John Voll, welcomed the campaign.
“I think Americans, especially these days ... are justified in being fearful of the suicidal violence attempts by extremist fanatics in many different traditions,” he said. “It is counterproductive for Americans to then focus their fear on the people who are probably their closest allies, and that is average, mainstream Muslims.” afp