CAIRO – Facing mushrooming anti-Muslim ad campaigns, a leading American civil rights group will announce the launch of "MyJihad" educational campaign on Friday, December 14, to share the proper meaning of Jihad as believed and practiced by the majority of Muslims.
“The MyJihad campaign is about reclaiming Jihad from the Muslim and anti-Muslim extremists who, ironically but not surprisingly, see eye to eye on Jihad,” Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director of the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago), said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net.
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"Jihad is a term that has unfortunately been widely misrepresented by the actions of Muslim extremists first and foremost, and by attempts at public indoctrination coming from Islamophobes who claim that the minority extremists are right and the majority of Muslims are wrong.”
Sponsored by CAIR-Chicago, the new MyJihad campaign would be launched on Friday at a press conference in the morning and at a community party in the afternoon.
It comes as an independent national initiative that seeks to share the proper meaning of Jihad as believed and practiced by the majority of Muslims.
Volunteers working on the campaign include activists and students.
Yet, the majority of volunteers have come from a group of working mothers who are disturbed by the prospects of their children growing up in an environment of gross misinformation about Islam that sometimes spills into outright hatred.
Earlier on Thursday, the official MyJihad website was made live. The website includes detailed information about the campaign.
The campaign also includes putting up public ads on buses and trains, as well as a social media component on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, where users are asked to tweet what their Jihad (struggle) is using the #MyJihad hash tag.
Thousands of users have already tweeted and thousands more have liked the Facebook page.
“It is also about pushing for an intelligent and informed understanding of Islam and its concepts and practices in the media, the educational circles, and the public,” Rehab added.
“Most of all, this campaign is about giving voice to our views, our practices, and simply put, our reality, a reality that is too big to be left out of the conversation."
On Monday, December 11th, the first bus ad campaign appeared on 25 Chicago buses.
The group hopes to follow up on the Chicago bus ad campaign with similar campaigns in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Houston, and Seattle.
Participants in the campaign said they were disturbed by the prospects of their children growing up in an environment that is hostile to Islam.
"We have been overwhelmed with the participation of people of other faiths tweeting their struggles," said campaign volunteer and Naperville mom Angie Emara.
"People of different backgrounds are finding a common language, they're learning to see themselves in one another as they share similar expressions of their daily Jihad."
The campaign was suggested as a reaction to the recent anti-Islam ad campaigns sponsored by hate blogger Pamela Geller.
Earlier this year, Geller sponsored an inflammatory advertisement equating Jihad to savagery appeared in ten subway stations in New York City.
The original ad says, "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad."
In October, CAIR championed a campaign to counter the anti-Jihad ads with signs reading a passage from Noble Qur’an saying: "Show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant."
Since 9/11, Muslims, estimated between six to seven million, have become sensitized to an erosion of their civil rights, with a prevailing belief that America was stigmatizing their faith.
Anti-Muslim sentiments sharply grew in the United States over plans to build a mosque near the 9/11 site in New York, resulting in attacks on Muslims and their property.
A recent report by CAIR and the University of California said that Islamophobia is on the rise in the US.
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