International

US billboards aim to raise awareness about Islam

NEW JERSEY: A new billboard in New Jersey aims to raise awareness by displaying a positive message about Islam, which comes as part of a national campaign by Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA).

The billboard, near the Vince Lombardi Service Plaza, displays the message “Muhammad (PBUH) believed in peace, social justice, women’s rights” along with a phone number and web address.

The Islamic Circle of North America said it had added 30 billboards to the 80 it has already posted in cities across the United States. The organization is determined 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 (PBUH),” 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 surge was first experienced in May in cities like Austin, Boston, Denver, Miami, Milwaukee, Phoenix, San Diego, and Seattle.

Some other billboards feature messages like, “Muhammad (PBUH) always taught love, not hate; peace, not violence” and “God does not judge by your face and wealth.”

Baig said a billboard on average costs the ICNA $3000 a month, which is paid by donations from US Muslims, who want to explain their faith to their neighbors, colleagues and others.

The ICNA, which promotes faith through education, social services and outreach, has made the billboards part of a larger campaign called #WhoisMuhammad (PBUH).

It also includes educational videos, information booths, interfaith seminars and outreach events in cities and college campuses.

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