A billboard in New Jersey bearing a positive message about Islam is part of the Islamic Circle of North America’s (ICNA) national campaign to create awareness about the religion.
The billboard, which displays the message, “Muhammad (pbuh) believed in peace, social justice, women’s rights”, stands near Vince Lombardi Service Plaza and can be viewed by commuters heading toward the George Washington Bridge.
The ICNA said on Monday that it had added 30 billboards to the 80 it had already posted in cities across the United States. The organisation promotes faith through education, social services and outreach and has made the billboards part of a larger campaign called #WhoisMuhammad.
The organisation’s president, Nadeem Baig, said, “The goal is to raise awareness about the faith and to dispel myths about Muslim Americans. People are curious to know about Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). They have many questions, and we are experiencing a surge in calls to our hotline and website visits since the billboards went up.”
The signs first went up in May and are in cities, such as, Austin, Boston, Denver, Miami, Milwaukee, Phoenix, San Diego, and Seattle. In New York City, billboards are located near Kennedy International Airport and Times Square.
Some of the billboards also display messages such as “Muhammad (Peace be upon him) always taught love, not hate; peace, not violence” and “God does not judge by your face and wealth.”
Billboards also invite passers-by to call the toll-free number, 1-877-Why-Islam or to visit the website, www.WhyIslam.org to find answers to questions about jihad, terrorism, women’s rights, or to order a free copy of the Holy Quran.
“Some ask about the Taliban not letting girls go to school or Saudi Arabia not letting women drive,” Baig said. “Some need to hear that what is happening in any society may be coming from the culture but that it is not Islam.”
Further, Baig said the average cost of a billboard was $3,000 per month and that it was paid for by donations from American Muslims who wanted to clarify people’s doubts about Islam.
“That’s especially important amid negative rhetoric about Islam and news about terrorism in the name of Islam. The organisation has been receiving hundreds of calls each month since the billboards went up and about 70 per cent are positive,” he continued.
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