San Franciscans have recently been finding themselves in the uncomfortable position of riding around on public buses plastered with the words “ISLAM - Submission to God.” I say “uncomfortable” because San Francisco is famously amongst the most secular and non-religious cities in the nation. But there has been nary a peep of comment or protest about these ubiquitous in-your-face ads, which are shown here in photos taken on March 2 in San Francisco.
Such was not the case a few weeks ago in Ft. Lauderdale, however, which is one of the cities where the ads first appeared on buses. As reported in the Miami Herald, Fort Lauderdale mayor Jim Naugle joined a protest against the same ad campaign. While the protest did not succeed in getting the ads removed, it highlighted the fact the the ads were co-sponsored by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) — a fact which can be easily confirmed with a little research: The ads themselves link to www.whyislam.org, which states at the bottom of the page that it is a project of ICNA; ICNA’s local chapter has a page on its own site about creating the ISLAM ad campaign in San Francisco; that page also lists CAIR as a co-sponsor (along with many other Muslim groups); and CAIR’s own site “Calling Islam” has many photos, links, and press releases about the ad campaign on its home page. So there’s no question that the ads are an ICNA and CAIR co-project.
Why is this noteworthy? Because ICNA is not your run-of-the-mill Muslim group, but rather is the North American branch of Jamaat-e-Islami, the fundamentalist Pakistani political party whose goal is the imposition of sharia law, and who are closely affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the primary fonts of Islamic fundamentalism in the modern world. ICNA’s mission statement on its own Web site says
The goal of ICNA shall be to seek the pleasure of Allah (SWT) through the struggle of Iqamat-ud-Deen (establishment of the Islamic system of life) as spelled out in the Qur’an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
The phrase “establishment of the Islamic system of life” means living under sharia (Islamic law) in a caliphate (Islamic political structure). Even the briefest of Web searches turns up any number of links about ICNA which show that it is among the most extreme of all fundamentalist Islamic groups in the United States.
(The proprietor of the zTruth blog also noted the San Francisco Islam bus ad campaign and tried to engage ICNA in a conversation about the cost of the ads — with predictable results: ICNA refused to answer his journalistic questions, even though they specifically invite email exchanges.)
But even more noteworthy is the involvement of CAIR in this concerted effort at dawah (Islamic proselytizing). CAIR derives its political credibility from supposedly being a respectable civil rights nonprofit organization:
CAIR’s literature describes the group as a “leading advocate for justice and understanding”, a mission which includes promoting the understanding of Islam, and protecting Muslim civil liberties. Their stated core principles include supporting freedom of religion, protecting the civil rights of everyone, and encouraging inter-faith dialogue.
But as their association with ICNA and this ad campaign now reveals, CAIR’s real goal is to convert Americans to Islam — with the eventual goal of turning the United States into a fully Islamic society (i.e. one operating under sharia).
In fact, on CAIR’s own “Calling Islam” site, they reveal their true agenda with several pages devoted specifically to dawah, such as this one called “How to Convert to Islam and Become a Muslim.”
There’s nothing wrong or illegal about religious groups trying to convert non-believers, but such activities become unethical when the groups try to pass themselves off as something else entirely — for example, when Scientologists set up innocent-looking “personality assessment” and “stress testing” booths in shopping malls, or when CAIR tries to pretend that it is a civil rights organization.
Later in the same day, I took this photo in San Francisco’s Castro District, at the corner of 18th and Castro streets. As everyone knows, the Castro is the epicenter of gay activism in the United States (note the rainbow flag in the bank window). And even in this neighborhood, the ISLAM bus ads appear prominently and frequently.
Now, whenever any Christian group tries to “cure” gays of homosexuality, or (as happened recently) campaigns to ban gay marriage in California, there are invariably eruptions of outrage in the Castro and throughout the San Francisco gay community, often culminating in protest marches, citizen forums, lawsuits, and more. Which is to be expected.
However, I have not heard the slightest peep of protest about these ISLAM ads appearing in gay neighborhoods. But, you may ask, why should anyone protest? Because, as it turns out, ICNA is virulently anti-gay. On ICNA’s own Web site is this passage, calling homosexuality “a pollution of the soul”:
Marriage is the proper form of satisfying the sexual activity. Adultery, fornication or homosexuality and such things are a pollution of the souls and the purity of genealogies.
Elsewhere on ICNA’s “Why Islam?” site, an essay is posted which says,
Islam teaches that homosexual acts are sinful and punishable by God. This teaching comes not from human beings, but from the Creator of all humans. God tells us in His own words how He punished the people of Lot for their homosexual behaviour.
The story of prophet Lot, on whom be peace, finds mention in several Qur’anic passages, especially Chapter 26:160-175 which reads:
[Qur'anic quote describing the destruction of Sodom.]
From these passages we learn that God saved Lot and the righteous ones of his family, and rained on the rest a shower of brimstone, so they were utterly destroyed. This is mentioned in the Qur’an not only for the sake of information, but mainly to serve as a warning to anyone who dares to repeat such acts.
Clear enough for you?
Dr Hathout told his audience that the materialism that has captured American society and to which Muslims are not exempt, troubles him. Also troubling is the impetus in modern society to accept the homosexuality as just another lifestyle choice. He reminded his audience that Islam does not accept homosexuality, and he reminded them that people have the choice to make and are mandated by Islam to reject homosexuality.
Moreover, clerics associated with ICNA have issued fatwas against homosexuality. Again, even cursory Web searches bring up many links of all sorts suggesting that ICNA — like most fundamentalist Islamic parties — is unapologetically opposed to homosexuality, and advocates strict adherence to Islamic law, under which the penalty for homosexual acts is death.
And yet — there is a resounding silence from San Francisco’s gay community about these ads, which are paid for by a group whose ultimate goal is to outlaw homosexuality in the United States. Imagine, for a moment, if a Christian group with similar goals had paid for and displayed proselytizing ads in the Castro. The outrage would be deafening. And yet when a Muslim group does it — silence. Why? There’s only one possible answer: Fear.
The cowardice and hypocrisy of the gay activist community on this issue is deeply troubling.
When the same ad campaign appeared on the New York subway system, the New York Post exposed the terror connections behind the ICNA-associated imam who was promoting the ads. Even so, as Weasel Zippers pointed out, the media continued to write puff pieces about ICNA.
The “Creeping Sharia” blog had an extensive post about the Ft. Lauderdale bus ads which had some excellent background research on the issue — pointing out, for example, how the ads (and CAIR’s Web site associated with the ads) are insulting and offensive to Christians and Jews. The Creeping Sharia post also has a great deal more evidence conclusively proving that ICNA is an offshoot of Jamaat-e-Islami, the Pakistani religious party seeking to establish an Islamic caliphate.
The controversy over the ads in Ft. Lauderdale led the County Commission to consider banning all religious advertising on local buses.
In addition to San Francisco and Ft. Lauderdale, the same ad campaign has also appeared in Miami and Chicago. This article says the ads have also run in Orlando, Jacksonville (FL), Portland (OR), and San Antonio.
Zomblog readers report seeing ISLAM ads from this campaign on buses, trains and billboards in New York, Baltimore and Seattle. Have you spotted them in your town?