Groups plan dueling bus ads in Chicago

Dec. 18, 2012 at 6:35 PM

CHICAGO, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- An anti-Muslim group wants to run "My Jihad" ads in Chicago to counter a campaign by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative wants to run their ads on buses like the CAIR ads, the Chicago Tribune reported. The group ran ads last month using the slogan "Defeat jihad."

CAIR officials say their ad campaign is an effort to reclaim the concept of "jihad" from Muslim extremists and groups like the AFDI. Jihad is the Arabic word for struggle, but many Muslims say it refers to the spiritual struggle to fulfill the duties of Islam and not to a physical struggle.

"The MyJihad campaign is about reclaiming jihad from the Muslim and anti-Muslim extremists who ironically, but not surprisingly, see eye to eye on jihad," said Ahmed Rehab, executive director of CAIR's Chicago chapter.

The CAIR ads feature Muslims discussing their understanding of jihad. AFDI ads presented Monday to the Chicago Transportation Authority feature photos of Osama bin Laden and other Muslim extremists giving what is supposed to be their definition of jihad.

Both groups say the other is distorting the truth. While Rehab said the AFDI ads are misleading, Pamela Geller, executive director of AFDI, said CAIR is not revealing what most Muslims actually think.

"This usage of jihad is much more influential and widespread among Muslims worldwide than the benign and whitewashed understanding of it," Geller said.

CTA said it is reviewing the AFDI ads. The campaign would start in January.

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