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The Islamic Circle of North America has been named in "a list of our organizations and the organizations of our friends" by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is bent on waging "a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions."
They say they want to encourage dialogue via these billboards. Great. I'll start. The billboard says that Islam is "the way of life of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus & Muhammad." That is a reflection of the Islamic supremacist notion, rooted in the Qur'an (3:67, 5:116, 9:30, etc.), that the Biblical prophets taught Islam, and their messages were corrupted by their followers to create what we know of today as Judaism and Christianity. In this view, Judaism and Christianity have no legitimacy whatsoever: they are renegade, twisted, hijacked versions of the original Islam.
So my question is: How does ICNA hope to encourage dialogue by making a declaration at the outset that Judaism and Christianity are false, renegade religions? Wouldn't it be more likely to encourage dialogue if ICNA, instead of simply trying to convert people to Islam (which is really what this call to "dialogue" is all about), acknowledged the supremacist aspects of some Islamic texts and teachings, and offered a way forward for Muslims that would blunt the potential of those supremacist texts and teachings to incite believers to hatred and violence?
That is always way too much to ask. But if this call to "dialogue" were genuine, it would be merely Step One.
"Billboards going up to promote Islam," by Bob Von Sternberg for the Star Tribune, December 15 (thanks to Block Ness):
Hoping to encourage interfaith dialogue, an Islamic organization will unveil a pair of billboards in Minneapolis this week.
The Minnesota chapter of the Islamic Circle of North America plans to unveil the billboards Friday, the eve of the Islamic New Year.
The billboards will be located along Hiawatha Avenue in south Minneapolis and Central Avenue on the north side.
They are part of a nationwide multimedia campaign that also includes placing posters on buses and subways in other big cities.
The billboards will display a toll-free telephone number where people can get answers to questions about Islam, as well as obtain free copies of the Qur'an and other Islamic literature.
"Got Questions? Get Answers," the billboard states.
In a prepared statement, the campaign's organizers are quoted as saying, "Islam is often a misunderstood religion, leading some to hold bias view of Islam with discrimination and suspicion of Muslims. This ad campaign will provide an opportunity for the people of Twin Cities to take a fresh and positive look at Islam."
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