Terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) continuously try to twist the teachings of Islam for their own gains. They are hiding behind their own versions of the religion to justify the atrocities they commit all over the world. With terrorists spreading their own versions of Islam, numerous misconceptions have circulated. And as non-Muslims become more and more confused about what Islam really is, it becomes easier for them to blame practitioners of true Islam for the sins of terrorists. Atif Fareed, the president of the AMCC, intends to clear such misconceptions by spreading the true words of Islam through towering billboards spread throughout the major cities of the United States.
Atif Fareed’s billboard campaign was initiated in Orlando and has now spread across other cities such as New York and Denver. The message conveyed by each billboard is different but Fareed says that the common message can be summarized by the following points:
• Muslim Americans are your neighbors.
• Muslim Americans are your doctors.
• Muslim Americans work in the community.
• Muslim Americans pay taxes.
• Muslim Americans are part and parcel of American society.
One of the billboards state that “Muhammad always taught love, not hate; peace, not violence.” This one alone shows that whatever IS and other terror groups are following, it is not true Islam. The real Islam reaches respect of other faiths. And this Islam is the one Muslim Americans are following. Muslim Americans respect other religion and in return want others to also respect theirs. Fareed encourages fellow Muslims especially community leaders to reach out to non-Muslims and initiate camaraderie among people of different faiths.
Days after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he’d like to ban Muslims from visiting the United States, a group of local Muslims invited him to an Orlando mosque in hopes of changing his mind. Read More…
AMCC has also created an information center and a website about Islam and Muslim Americans. The toll-free number for the info center as well as the URL of the website can be found on all of the billboards. Everyone, especially non-Muslims, is encouraged to call the number or visit the website if they have any doubts or if they have any questions about Islam. The best way to clear misconceptions is to be clear about the truth. The information center has reported weekly call numbers of more than 800 which makes the campaign a huge success according to Fareed.
In this article, we will try to clear up many of the misconceptions that are prevalent about Islam. Before jumping into the list of misconceptions directly, it is important to give a little interesting background about the source of Islam. Read More…
AMCC calls for everyone to withhold judgment for the practices of any faith they know enough about the said faith. Islam is not keeping any secrets. The billboards show that Muslim Americans want all to know more about their faith.
Atif Fareed, the president of the American Muslim Community Center, agrees with other Muslim leaders that republican presidential candidate Donald Trump needs to study Islam. This was after Trump made a controversial statement saying that all Muslims should be banned from entering the United States. Muslim leaders not just from the US, but even those from other countries denounced this statement saying that only someone ignorant of the teachings of Islam can utter such foolishness.
American Muslims accuse Trump of being misinformed to thinking that every single Muslim wanting to enter America does so with ill intent. Fareed says that this line of thinking is due to the many misconceptions about Islam and Muslims. The terror group Islamic State keeps on claiming that Islam requires Muslims to slaughter and take. Muslim leaders refute this claim saying that Muhammad tells Muslims to respect other faith. In fact, the Quran explicitly states that Muslims should be loyal to the country where they live in. And since Muslim Americans live in the United Sates, their loyalty lies with the US. Other lies about Islam being spread by terrorists are as follows:
Killing and rape of non-believers is allowed.
Taking from non-Muslims is allowed.
Women must follow men.
Women should remain at home to serve their husbands.
Women should not pursue education.
Women should not reject men.
Atif Fareed also says that it is abundantly clear that the terrorist’s version of Islam is twisted to justify their actions and to take away the rights of women. Muslims and non-Muslims alike should know only true Islam. Fareed further explains that American Muslim community centers have even taken initiative to promote gender equality. Mosques and Muslim centers are now advocates are now leading the way to clearing the misconception that women are mere possessions of men.
Muslim Americans have been at the receiving end of prejudice and hate crimes every time a major terror attack is committed in non-Muslim countries. Fareed wants everyone to know that terrorists do not represent Islam. Muslims are with the rest of the world in standing against terrorism and other needless and pointless acts of violence.
Fareed also stresses that it is the responsibility of government leaders as well as those aspiring to be government leaders to know more about Islam so they can make better and informed decisions when it comes to relevant issues. Fareed asks Trump to set an example and study Islam. All mosques and Muslim community centers are open to non-Muslims. Our Muslim brothers will be happy to teach you about our faith.
GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has never been known to favor Muslim Americans. In fact, the controversial businessman is known for wanting immigrants, particularly Mexicans, out of the country. Trump, however, seems to have finally overstepped his boundaries when he called for banning all Muslims from entering the United States. He made this statement in the wake of the San Bernardino terror attacks in which a Muslim couple went on a shooting spree that cause the deaths of 14 people and the injury of 22 others.
Donald Trump’s words on Thursday detailing the revolting measures he’s open to imposing on Muslim-Americans literally sent a shudder down my spine. A non-Muslim friend of mine tweeted: “This literally made me cry.” Read more…
Atif Fareed, president of the American Muslim Community Center, has led calls for Trump to come into a mosque so he can be enlightened as to what Islam really is. The invite is supported by various Muslim community representatives such as Taha Tawil, the leader of one of the oldest mosques in the US. Muslim leaders agree that Trump clearly does not know enough about Islam and Muslims and the best way to open his eyes to the truth is to educate him.
Atif Fareed explains that if Trump agrees to have a long discussion with them, they will make him realize that:
Muslims are his neighbors and not his enemies – Muslim Americans, just like any other American, wants what is best for their country. They pay their taxes, work hard for a living, and do what they can for their community. They are not terrorists out to spill blood in American soil.
Terrorists do not represent Muslims – the couple responsible for the San Bernardino massacre may be Muslims, but what they did was far from the teachings of Islam. They have been radicalized and brainwashed into believing a skewed version of Islam, the one Islamic State has been spreading.
Muslim communities around the world denounce terrorism – it has been evident in most if not all terror attacks since 9/11 that the Islamic community does not condone acts of terror. Muslim leaders denounced the Paris terror attacks and they do so again with the San Bernardino terror attack.
Islam is a religion of love and peace – the Islam being taught by Islamic State, Al Qaeda, and other terror groups is not true Islam. The real Islam is the one being taught in mosques and community centers. True Islam commands respect for others especially their faith.
Muslim American leaders are hoping that government leaders take the time to know more about Islam. Answering the invite to come to a sit down inside a mosque is a great first step.
President Atif Fareed of the American Muslim Community Centers is leading a campaign to foster commonality between Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the United States. He stresses that we are all American Citizens who are loyal and hoping for the good of America. Growing frequency of terror attacks throughout the globe has created a rift between Muslims and people of other faiths. Fareed tells everybody that terrorists do not represent Islam. Terrorists are not honoring Mohammed or Allah’s teachings but instead are defiling them. Americans, regardless of religion, should band together and standing up against terrorism.
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“Why Islam” Billboard Campaign
To achieve or at least come closer to having commonality between Americans of different faiths, Atif Fareed launched the “Why Islam” billboard campaign. He led the installation of four billboards throughout Orlando and Daytona Beach. The campaign aims to erect the billboards in key areas of all major cities in the United States. As of 2016, more than a hundred billboards have already been installed by the campaign.
Same Family, Same Message
Fareed believes that the best way to clear the various misconceptions about Islam and Muslims is to let non-Muslims know the truth about Islam and the teachings of Mohammed. The Quran teaches Muslims to love and be loyal to the country where they live. So to be good Muslims, American Muslims must be loyal to the United States over any other country. The billboards aim to remind non-Muslims of this teaching so that they realize the Muslims are not the enemy. Muslims are their family and their neighbor.
Why Islam Information Campaign
The billboard campaign also acts as an information campaign, encouraging non-Muslims to know more about Islam. Each of the billboards contains a toll-free number and an email address. The toll free number leads to an information center where a representative will answer any question relevant to Islam. The website, on the other hand, is for people who do not have any particular questions but just want to know anything about the religion. Fareed strongly believes the fear of Islam will be alleviated if people only knew the truth about the religion.
Opening of Mosques and Muslim Centers
Fareed is also a strong advocate of opening the doors of Mosques and Muslim centers to non-Muslims. Muslim places of worship are the best locations for spreading the true words of Allah. He also invites people of other faiths to attend even just one sermon or a single religious lesson to have an idea how Muslims practice their faith.
Sharing Ramadan is a gathering in which non-Muslims, particularly elected officials and faith leaders are invited to witness or even take part in the Ramadan if they wish to. Ramadan is one of the most important and impactful Muslim traditions and understanding it will lead to a deeper understanding of the religion. AMCC believes that helping non-Muslims understand more about the Muslim faith is the best way to foster understanding and unity among communities of varying religions.
What are the Objectives of Sharing Ramadan?
The Sharing Ramadan Gathering hopes to provide an opportunity for non-Muslims to learn more about American Muslims. The organizers believe that this will help others understand that American Muslims also support the country in its fight against terrorism. The event also aims to dispel negative stereotypes by showing that Islam is a religion of peace and discipline, not one of violence and death as claimed by extremists such as ISIS. The event also gives a chance for non-Muslims to see the Muslim faith as practiced by American Muslims. And by breaking iftar (the evening meal that marks the end of the daily Ramadan fast at sunset) all participants, AMCC hopes that the event will foster camaraderie between Muslims and non-Muslims.
A very common, oft-repeated mantra among pundits and “experts” is that Muslims haven’t roundly condemned the extremism committed in Islam’s name. So many times, we hear people saying, “Where are the Muslim voices in condemnation?” “Why aren’t Muslims speaking up against extremists like ISIS?” Read more…
Sharing Ramadan is Muslims Reaching Out
Muslims are a minority in the United States and they are seldom asked to voice out their opinions on matters of national importance. Sharing Ramadan is our way of reaching out and letting our voices heard. The event is a symbol of us Muslims wanting people of other faiths to know more about Islam, so we can act and work together with mutual respect and understanding. We want everyone to know that American Muslims also desire what is best for America. We stand with our non-Muslim brothers as they denounce acts of terrorism. We do not deserve the prejudice frequently thrown at us for we are your allies, not your enemies.