Muslim Message Decries Terrorism
By Michael Turnbell,
Near one of South Florida's busiest crossroads, a new billboard aims to tell people about the real Islam.

With the American flag visible in the background, the message reads: "Islam Condemns Terrorism, Islam Stands for Peace & Justice, Explore the Qur'an."

The Florida office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations hopes the ad along Florida's Turnpike near Interstate 595 in Davie will fight the perception that Muslims share the same violent convictions as the Islamic fundamentalists behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and recent bombings abroad.

"Four years later, one would imagine the incidents of discrimination and harassment against Muslims would diminish. Quite the opposite has happened," said Altaf Ali, Florida director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The Washington D.C.-based CAIR has recorded nearly 300 hate crimes against Florida Muslims since Sept. 11, 2001. Many of the hijackers lived in South Florida before they boarded the planes they crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the worst terrorist attack on US soil.

In May, vandals threw a rock through a glass door at the Islamic School of Miami. In June, drivers rammed the school's gate with a car. Last year, the mosque reported the scrawling of an expletive and a Nazi swastika on an exterior sign.

The number marks a sharp increase from just 12 incidents recorded the year before the terrorist attacks. (Courtesy Sun Sentinel, 9/12/05,0,6595398.story)


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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