Houston debuts Muslim billboards
The local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic relations debuted today billboards that promote Muslim patriotism to counter Islamophobia in the months leading up to the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Thanks to Mullah (source)
The 10 billboards, located along area interstates, read “Proud Americans, Proud Texans, Proud Muslims,” and display faces of members of the Houston Muslim community.
One billboard shows Muslims serving in a variety of professionsâ€”including a doctor and soldierâ€”and another illustrates interfaith relationships by showing an imam with a Jewish rabbi and Christian pastor.
Houston is the first city to display such billboards, though other markets may adopt the campaign, said Ibrahim Hooper, national spokesman for CAIR.
A grant from private donors enabled the organization to afford the $54,000 cost, said Mustafaa Carroll, director of CAIR-Houston.
The billboards are meant to promote a positive image of local Muslims in response to recent incidents in the community, including two Houston-area mosques that were deliberately set on fire this spring.
The patriotic message is similar toÂ campaigns by Houston’s Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to promote “Muslims for Peace” and “Muslims for Loyalty” with flyers, door-to-door visits and interfaithÂ meetings.
The billboard campaign has drawn attention across the country and across the globe since it was announced, according Carroll, mostly from fellow Muslims praising their large-scale efforts.
A few conservative members of Houston’s Muslim community questioned the decision to display images of Muslims, since aÂ hadith by Muhammad discourages followers from putting up depictions of people, animals or God. Carroll said the billboards needed to be appealing to the general public.
“It’s just a billboard, but hopefully it will lead to discussions and understanding,” he said.