Press Release: “MyJihad” ads now circulating on San Francisco buses, still in Chicago
National Educational initiative to “reclaim Jihad from Muslim and anti-Muslim extremists alike”
(CHICAGO, IL, 1/3/2012) — The Chicago office of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) announced today that the “MyJihad Educational Campaign” has officially launched in San Francisco as 35 king-size bus ads started circulating via the Muni bus system.
The official website includes detailed information about the campaign.
The San Francisco bus ads started circulating on the city’s Muni bus system last week with full roll out of the 25 buses completed before New Year’s eve. The campaign was timed for maximum holiday exposure.
MyJihad is an independent national public education campaign, started by Chicago activist and CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, that seeks to share the proper meaning of Jihad as believed and practiced by the majority of Muslims. Jihad is a central tenet of the Islamic creed which means struggling uphill in order to get to a better place. MyJihad is currently pending 501(c)3 status. Private donations are managed by CAIR-Chicago as the sponsoring organization.
Volunteers working on the campaign include activists and students, but the crux of the volunteers have been a group of working moms who are disturbed by the prospects of their children growing up in an environment of gross misinformation about Islam that sometimes spills into outright hatred such as with the recent anti-Islam ads sponsored by Pamela Geller.
The campaign includes putting up public ads on buses and trains, as well as a social media component on Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter where users are asked to tweet what their Jihad (struggle) is using the #MyJihad hashtag. Thousands of users have already tweeted and thousands more have liked the Facebook page.
MyJihad has generated a national and global media buzz from the US networks to a dedicated full hour coverage on the BBC to Lithuania, China, and the island of Aruba.
“We are excited that the #MyJihad campaign has come to San Francisco. It presents a much needed opportunity to engage in dialogue around the true meaning of jihad, and the rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric in recent years,” said CAIR-SFBA Executive Director, Zahra Billoo.
“The campaign has been met with tremendous support from across the board and, as expected, with resistance from the two extremes whose message of hate and divisiveness we are challenging,” said Sadaf Syed, award-winning photojournalist who took the campaign’s photos and San Francisco native based in Chicago. “MyJihad represents the average muslim voice; as an American Muslim photojournalist, I am raised not to curse the media, but to become a medium for myself. That is my Jihad.”
Both the Chicago and San Francisco bus ads are paid for by CAIR-Chicago.
CAIR-Chicago is a chapter of America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.