By Hannan Adely, Staff Writer | The Record
August 31, 2015
Commuters heading toward the George Washington Bridge are being asked to take a closer look at the Islamic faith in a new billboard on I-95.
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The billboard, near the Vince Lombardi Service Plaza, bears the message “Muhammad believed in peace, social justice, women’s rights” and includes a phone number and website for more information.
It’s part of a national campaign by the Islamic Circle of North America, which said Monday that it had added 30 billboards to the 80 it has already posted in cities across the United States. The goal is to raise awareness about the faith and to dispel myths about Muslim Americans, said Naeem Baig, the organization’s president.
“People are curious to know about the Prophet Muhammad,” Baig said. “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, which first went up in May, are in such cities 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 billboards feature other messages, like “Muhammad always taught love, not hate; peace, not violence” and “God does not judge by your face and wealth.”
The average cost of a billboard is $3,000 per month, Baig said. It is paid for by donations from American Muslims who want to explain their faith to neighbors and colleagues.
That’s especially important amid negative rhetoric about Islam and news about terrorism in the name of Islam, he said. The organization has been receiving hundreds of calls each month since the billboards went up and about 70 percent are positive, Baig said.
Billboards invite passers-by to call the toll-free number, 1-877-Why-Islam or to visit the website, to find answers to questions about jihad, terrorism, women’s rights, or to order a free copy of the 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.”
The Islamic Circle of North America, which promotes faith through education, social services and outreach, has made the billboards part of a larger campaign called #WhoisMuhammad. It also includes educational videos, information booths, interfaith seminars and outreach events in cities and college campuses.
Article Courtesy: North Jersey
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Islamic Circle of North America
166-26 89th Ave
Jamaica, Queens
NY 11432

Telephone/Fax: (855) 855-ICNA (4262)