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Malaysia Today: My Jihad ad campaign launches in Washington, D.C.

http://www.malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/newscommentaries/54162-my-jihad-ad-campaign-launches-in-washington-dc-photos

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WASHINGTON –- Ready to see more ads about jihad during your morning commute?

“This campaign is about representing our voices, our lives — our reality,” the organization’s website reads. “The purpose of the campaign is to bring forth the mainstream majority of moderate voices that is often squeezed out between two extremes. The simple, yet much ignored fact is that Jihad is a positive, peaceful, and constructive practice.”

Huffington Post

Just months after controversial anti-Muslim ads went on display, the nation’s capital will feature a campaign meant to redefine, in positive ways, the popular understanding of jihad.

Four Metro stations — Shaw-Howard U, Waterfront, Rockville and Dunn Loring-Merrifield — will host the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ My Jihad campaign, a project intended to educate residents on the proper meaning of a term largely understood to have negative and violent connotations.

“Jihad is a central tenet of the Islamic creed which means struggling uphill in order to get to a better place,” a media release about the campaign explained.

“This campaign is about representing our voices, our lives — our reality,” the organization’s website reads. “The purpose of the campaign is to bring forth the mainstream majority of moderate voices that is often squeezed out between two extremes. The simple, yet much ignored fact is that Jihad is a positive, peaceful, and constructive practice.”

The earlier Metro ads, paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, painted jihad in a different light. “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad,” that campaign read.

“We’re troubled by how the word ‘jihad’ has been hijacked by people who…have made careers out of pushing anti-Muslim sentiment,” Zahra Billoo, executive director of CAIR’s Bay Area chapter, told The Huffington Post earlier this month. “For too long people outside the Muslim community have been telling us what our religion really teaches.”

Using the Twitter hashtag #MyJihad, the organization encourages people to share their struggles — or rather, their jihads — online (as one Twitter user wrote, “#myjihad is to greet everyone I meet, even random strangers, with a smile”).

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