Thursday, July 24, 2008

Islamist Ads To Appear In Subways In September

From CNN:
Islam subway ads cause stir in New York

Ads promoting Islam are to be placed on New York subway cars in September, but a U.S. congressman finds people sponsoring the messages unacceptable.

Siraj Wahhaj is imam of a Brooklyn mosque and a backer of pro-Islam ads on New York subway cars.

"I have no problem with the ad itself, but I have a very, very real problem with those behind it," Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican, said Tuesday. He is urging the Metropolitan Transit Authority to reject the ads.

The campaign is to feature ads on 1,000 of the subway system's roughly 6,200 cars. The main sponsor is a grass-roots organization, Islamic Circle of North America.

The ads, simple black-and-white panels, will feature key words or phrases about Islam on one side of the panel such as "Head Scarf?" or "Prophet Muhammad?" and the words "You deserve to know" along with the Web site address on the other side.

According to Daniel Pipes' group Islamist Watch it is the people supporting the campaign who are the problem--such as the group Islamic Circle of North America, the website and Siraj Wahhaj, imam of a Brooklyn mosque:
Wahhaj, who stars in the low-quality YouTube video, was designated a potential co-conspirator during the trial of blind sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and his followers, who were convicted of plotting the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and planning subsequent attacks on New York City landmarks. He later served as a character witness for Rahman. Wahhaj is also known for promoting polygamy, questioning Osama bin Laden's role in 9/11, touting the virtues of martyrdom, and warning that the United States will fall unless it "accepts the Islamic agenda."

The Islamic Circle of North America is equally troubling. ICNA has close ties to Jamaat-e-Islami, a Pakistani arm of the radical Muslim Brotherhood, and is identified in a MB memo as a friendly organization that could help Muslims "understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within." In addition, ICNA has been investigated as part of a U.S. Senate terror fundraising probe and may have recently funneled money to Hamas., the ICNA-run website to which travelers will be sent, has been described by Americans Against Hate chairman Joe Kaufman as laced with "anti-Semitism, homophobia, terrorism, and misogyny."

On the one hand, Latif claims
Muslims have to be more pro-active in terms of educating people about their religion, by no means proselytizing the faith in any capacity, but really setting a standard and defining what mainstream Islam stands for.
On the other hand, David Rusin who wrote the post in Islamic Watch concludes:
unless the Metropolitan Transportation Authority drops the campaign, as Congressman Peter King has demanded, subway riders headed to Ground Zero on the anniversary of 9/11 will find themselves surrounded by ads from terror-linked Islamists.
Jihad Watch points out that Wahhaj may be simply following through on his own suggestion:
Siraj Wahhaj, meanwhile, has warned that the United States will fall unless it “accepts the Islamic agenda.” He has lamented that “if only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate.”
Latif may be right that there is a need to set the standard and define what mainstream Islam stands for, but it is an open question whether Wahhaj and Islamic Circle of North America are actually qualified to do it.

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