: Why Islam Counters US Islamophobes

17-02-2013, 03:14 AM
Amid a new Islamophobic drive against the sizable minority, American Muslims have expanded an awareness campaign to present a better understanding of Islam to South Florida.

"We are thankful to God, Almighty, for giving us the opportunity to bring this Islam awareness campaign to South Florida, Naeem Baig, President of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net.

"We hope that through this campaign we would be able to reach out to the growing and diverse community of South Florida."
The "Why Islam" campaign features new billboards and latest web technology to drive traffic to ICNAs YouTube channel and website.

A direct call center is already in place to take phone calls to help the callers with the up-to-date information about Islam by calling 1 (877) Why Islam (949-47526).

It follows an earlier launch of the campaign in the central state of Florida on the New Year's eve.

The campaign aims to present an accurate image of Islam and create new opportunities for dialogue with American society.

It also highlights commonalities between Islam, Christianity and Judaism and the universal message brought by all Messengers: to worship only "The One God".

The effort is not the first by ICNA to present an accurate image of Islam.

Last year, the organization offered free copies of the Noble Qur'an as well as Islamic pamphlets in front of public libraries as part of its campaign.

The pamphlets covered a number of subjects, including the relationship of Muslims to Christians and Jews, human rights, status of women, the afterlife, worship and one titled "What does Islam say about terrorism?"


The Muslim drive coincides with the launch of a new hate campaign by anti-Islam blogger Pamela Geller in D.C. Metro.

My Jihad "is a deceptive campaign designed to distract from and obscure the true meaning of jihad that Muslims the world over understand," Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), told The Huffington Post in an email.

She believes that her new advertisement campaign will "show the reality of jihad."

The umbrella Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has earlier launched a campaign titled "My Jihad", to explain the true and proper meaning of the term as believed and practiced by the majority of Muslims.

The Muslim campaign has so far been launched in three American cities; Chicago, San Francisco and Washington.

Jihad is often stereotyped by Western media as meaning holy war.

But Muslim scholars have repeatedly affirmed that the word Jihad, which is mentioned in the Noble Qur'an, means "struggle" to do good and to remove injustice, oppression and evil from society.

Karen Armstrong, the prominent and prolific British writer on all three monotheistic religions, has criticized stereotyping the Arabic word "jihad" as merely meaning holy war.

But American Muslims are unfazed by Geller's anti-Islam campaign.

"It's a free country, and she's free to be a bigot and a hate-monger if she wants to be," CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said.

"We would hope intelligent people would recognize it for the hate-mongering it is and make appropriate conclusions about the motivations of the sponsors."

US Muslims, estimated at between six to eight million, have been sensing a growing hostility following a hearing presented by Republican representative Peter King on what he described as radicalization of US Muslims.

A recent report by CAIR, the University of California and Berkeley's Center for Race and Gender found that Islamophobia in the US is on the rise.

A US survey had also revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.

A recent Gallup poll had found that 43 percent of Americans Nationwide admitted to feeling at least a little prejudice against Muslims.
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