National Ad Campaign on Islam Supplies Anti-Semitic Resources
Posted: July 17, 2009
Updated: June 17, 2010
The problematic links on WhyIslam's Web site remained online until at least December 2009. For more information on the history of extremist links on WhyIslam's Web site, click here.
The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) created the "WhyIslam" campaign (also known as "You Deserve to Know") in the fall of 2008 to educate the public about Islam, and to "clarify many of the misconceptions" about the religion.
The campaign's Web site, created several years ago, calls for interfaith dialogue, saying, "Religious hostility can be greatly diminished, if not completely eliminated, if we make a sincere attempt to understand the 'other.'"
Regardless of this stated goal, the "WhyIslam" campaign Web site directs visitors to various anti-Semitic and extremist materials, which they list as "resources on Islam." These include a link to IslamOnline, a Web-based publication "chaired by" Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi, a radical Muslim Brotherhood ideologue based in Qatar.
The Web site also links to a Turkish anti-Semite, Harun Yahya. In an article posted to his site, Yahya writes an anti-Semitic condemnation of all Jews who support Israel: "Godless Zionism is today engaged in a struggle against peace, security and moral virtue, and constantly produces strife and chaos and the shedding of blood."
The "WhyIslam" campaign, created by the New York and New Jersey chapters of ICNA, with national headquarters in Somerset, New Jersey, has had extensive reach in cities across the U.S. The campaign ran advertisements on approximately 30 buses in Seattle from September through November 2008; on more than 140 municipal buses in San Francisco and four billboards in the Bay Area in February 2009; and on approximately 1,000 subway cars in New York in September 2008. Twenty-four billboards went up in 18 different cities in the U.S., including Tampa, Portland and Houston.
The most recent campaign, in the Washington, D.C. metro area, started running "WhyIslam" ads on 50 municipal buses in June 2009 and is scheduled to run through the end of July.
The "WhyIslam" campaign has been widely embraced by others in the Muslim American community. Among the groups the San Francisco branch of ICNA lists on its Web site as endorsing the campaign are the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) San Francisco chapter and the Islamic Organization of North America (IONA), which is the North American branch of a radical anti-Semitic and anti-American Pakistani organization, Tanzeem-e-Islami.
"WhyIslam" claims to have network of volunteers that have established direct contact with prison inmates through correspondence. It also places advertisements in community newspapers and distributes promotional materials at community booths in malls.