Boeing, Bell, National Journal Apologize for 'Mosque Attack' Ad

Washington, DC: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said September 30 that Boeing Co., Bell Helicopter Textron and National Journal magazine have apologized for a print advertisement depicting US troops attacking a mosque.
CAIR said it had received a statement of apology from Boeing, which sponsored the ad along with Bell. Boeing wrote:
"The CV-22 advertisement that appeared in the National Journal is clearly offensive, and did not proceed through the normal channels within Boeing before production.
"'We consider the ad offensive, regret its publication and apologize to those who like us are dismayed with its contents,” said Mary Foerster, Vice President of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems Communications.
"'When the Company became aware of the advertisement we immediately requested that our partner's agency withdraw and destroy all print proofs of the advertisement and replace it with one that was appropriate,” Foerster said. “Unfortunately despite our best efforts to have the ad replaced, a clerical error at the National Journal resulted in its publication this week.'"
Representatives of Bell Helicopter and National Journal also contacted CAIR to express regret for the publication of the ad.
National Journal Executive Vice President Elizabeth Baker Keffer wrote: "[T]he advertisement for Boeing/Bell's V-22 Osprey that ran in the September 24 issue of National Journal was run as the result of a clerical error on our part. We had received specific direction from the agency representing Boeing/Bell to not run the ad. We have apologized to Boeing, their partner Bell, and their advertising agency for this mistake."
A Bell statement sent to CAIR said in part: "We recognize that some organizations and individuals may have been offended by its content and regret any concerns this advertisement may have raised. Bell and our partners are evaluating creative processes to prevent this from happening again."
The ad for the CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft depicted soldiers rappelling onto the roof of a building, labeled "Muhammad Mosque" in Arabic. The building has a dome, crescent moon and minaret, all common features of a mosque.
CAIR sent a letter to top officials of Boeing, Bell and Textron asking the companies to withdraw the advertisement and conduct an investigation into how it was approved for publication. (Bell Helicopter is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Textron.)
"We thank Boeing, Bell and National Journal for their swift and decisive response to our concerns," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. "Mistakes can happen, but the true test of a company's integrity comes in acknowledging and dealing with those mistakes." He said CAIR will follow up with all parties involved to determine how the ad was produced and to help prevent similar incidents in the future.
Awad added that American Muslim groups are always ready to consult with corporations and media outlets on issues related to religious diversity and culturally-sensitive advertising.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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