By Saima Shiekh
“Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah,” reads one such ad next to the image of a man in a checkered scarf. “That’s His Jihad. What’s yours?” This is the bus ad that will be displayed soon on New York City buses. This is a false and inflammatory statement. Instead of blocking this false statement, the district judge in Manhattan ordered that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) should display this ad citing, “Moreover, there is no evidence that seeing one of these advertisements on the back of a bus would be sufficient to trigger a violent reaction. Therefore, these ads — offensive as they may be — are still entitled to First Amendment protection.” Really! How can something that is false and will further incite hatred and mistrust against a particular group be ‘protected speech’?
The ad says, “Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah…” Let me make this clear, Allah is an Arabic word which means ‘God’ and Muslims do not have monopoly on this word. It is the same God that the Jews worship as well. Secondly, Islam is not anti-Semitic, nor does it say that killing Jews or anyone else will draw you closer to Allah or God. On the contrary, the Quran says, “whosoever killed a person — it shall be as if he had killed all mankind” (5:33) Prophet Muhammad never incited violence against Jews and he was against suicide. He said, “None of you should long for death, for if he is a good man, he may increase his good deeds, and if he is an evil-doer, he may stop the evil deeds and repent.” (Bukhari) This should make it clear that violence and suicide is condemned in Islam. Muslims are obligated to believe in all prophets including the Israelite prophets and all the revealed scriptures including Torah and New Testament. It is part of the article of faith of a Muslim. Moses’ name is cited more than 150 times in the Quran and the details of his life are mentioned more than any other prophet.“Say, `We believe in Allah and that which has been revealed to us, and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and in that which was given to Moses and Jesus and other Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them and to Him we submit.” (3:85)
Therefore, the allegations that the Islamophobe behind these anti-Islam ads is making are false and such ads are against reality and are a form of hate speech and incitement to religious hatred. I have never seen anyone running ads against Jews or Christians. If anyone writes something against Jews, they are labeled as ‘anti-Semite’. Why then is it alright to run ads against Muslims? It is not fair to blame Islam and all Muslims for the actions of few lunatics. Would it be fair, if I blamed all Christians for actions of the Ku Klux Klan? This needs to stop!
The world doesn’t need more hatred but peace. This is the message that the Khalifa of Islam, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, worldwide leader of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community said at a Peace symposium on March 14, 2015, “We should realise and recognise the critical need of the hour. We must accept that peace can only be built upon the solid foundations of honesty, integrity and justice. These are the keys to peace. Until there is honesty and justice no solution will ever prove beneficial.”
These ads will not stop the terrorist organizations but will be used as a recruiting mechanism for ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, and Hamas. They will use these ads as “proof” and propaganda that America is against Muslims. Instead of inciting hatred, let us instead run positive ads promoting peace between all religions.
Follow Saima on twitter at @SaimaGSheikh