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‘Jihad Obsession’ Upsets US Muslims

Source : OnIslam | 25 Mar 2013

American Muslims see the new advertisements linking Jihad to violence and terrorism by Islamophobic blogger Pamela Geller reflecting her obsession with Islam and the sizable minority.

“What I’m troubled by is Miss Geller’s obsession and fascination with Islam and with American Muslims,” Linda Sarcour, a spokesperson for the National Network for Arab American Communities, told CNN in an interview.

Championed by Geller, new ads linking Jihad to violence and terrorism appeared on buses in San Francisco earlier this month.

The ads feature photos of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and a victim of the Fort Hood mass shooting

"Killing Jews is worship that brings us closer to Allah," reads an ad attributed to a Hamas TV station.

The ads closely mimic the style of a separate campaign launched in September by Geller on New York subway that linked jihad to savagery.

Defending the ads, Geller has accused American Muslims of “obscuring the true reality of Jihad”.

“They don’t condemn the statements in the ads,” Geller said.

“You have the prime minister of Turkey saying, ‘The mosques are our fortresses, the minarets are our bayonettes, and the Muslims are our soldiers.’”

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.

Trying to show the true meaning of jihad, American Muslims have launched a billboard campaign to explain the true and proper meaning of Jihad as believed and practiced by the majority of Muslims.

The campaign, which reached Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, includes putting up public ads on buses and trains as well as social media websites, where users are asked to tweet what their Jihad (struggle) is using the #MyJihad hashtag.

Vilification

American Muslims lament that the ads aim to vilify Muslims and spread hatred against the minority.

“The ads are absurd, they’re offensive,” said Sarsour.

“You’re quoting a man who is a Holocaust denier. He is not an American Muslim.

“Miss Geller has a history and track record of vilifying the American Muslim community and pitting communities up against each other.”

The anti-Islam ads are not the first by Geller, the head of the pro-Israel American Freedom Defense Initiative.

A series of billboards condemning Islam were erected at Metro-North Railroad stations in different American states last year.

Also in 2012, Geller sponsored an inflammatory advertisement equating Jihad to savagery, which appeared in ten subway stations in New York City.

US Muslims, estimated at between seven to eight million, have been sensing hostility in recent months.

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.