July 15, 2005

Muslims launch tv ad against terrorism

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American Muslims have launched an
advertising campaign to denounce acts of terrorism after
bombers believed to be British Muslims killed at least 54
people in attacks on London.

"Any effort by terrorists to hide their criminal activities
under the mask of religious piety is being categorically and
unequivocally rejected by mainstream Muslims," said Parvez
Ahmed, chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

He said the television ad, which will air nationwide by
July 19, is an attempt to detach Islam from the "heinous" acts
of a few Muslims.

Police believe the attacks are linked to al Qaeda, the
Islamic militant group behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on
the United States and the Madrid train bombings last year.

"Backlash is a concern ... but it's not our main motive,"
said CAIR spokeswoman Rabiah Ahmed. "Our main motivation lies
with making sure our position is clear where Islam stands on

The 30-second public service spot, called "Not in the Name
of Islam," features two American Muslim women and religious
leader Imam Johari Abdul-Malik.

"We often hear claims Muslims don't condemn terrorism and
that Islam condones violence," they say.

"As Muslims, we want to state clearly that those who commit
acts of terror in the name of Islam are betraying the teachings
of the Koran and the Prophet Mohammed. We reject anyone -- of
any faith -- who commits such brutal acts and will not allow
our faith to be hijacked by criminals. Islam is not about
hatred and violence. It's about peace and justice."

The director of the Center for Muslim-Christian
Understanding at Georgetown University, John Voll, welcomed the

"I think Americans, especially these days ... are justified
in being fearful of the suicidal violence attempts by extremist
fanatics in many different traditions," he said. "It is
counterproductive for Americans to then focus their fear on the
people who are probably their closest allies, and that is
average, mainstream Muslims."