Chicago Muslims Respond to Anti-Islam Film

Campaign beginning next month aims to educate Chicagoans about Islam and its values

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Muslims pray at a downtown Chicago mosque on Friday, Sept. 21, 2012.

    A coalition of Islamic groups rallied together Friday afternoon to educate Americans about what their faith really means.

    "As Americans, as we were offended by the attacks on our embassies and our government overseas," said Council of Islamic Organizations of Great Chicago member Humaira Basieh during a press conference downtown, which included an Islamic call to prayer. "We have chosen to exercise our freedom of speech by sharing with our fellow Americans the profile of our messenger as we know him."

    The coalition also announced its "Truth about Muhammad" campaign, which will next month begin broadcasting public service announcements on TV, along with ads on Chicago Transit Authority buses and billboards to help explain Islam and its values.

    The campaign aims to counter the violent images of violence in the Middle East, including the killing of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya.

    "We would like to make sure that we fight ignorance and bigotry with education," said GainPeace Director Sabeel Ahmed.

    Nearly 20 people have been killed and more than 160 wounded in clashes between police and people protesting the film.

    A peaceful afternoon prayer, like the one held at the mosque downtown, are among the images the coalition wants to share with its neighbors.

    "If there is hatred in the heart of some of the people, we would like to take actions in order to change the hatred possibly into liking or at least neutrality," said Mohammed Kaiseruddin.