Fox 32 Chicago: Ahmed Rehab responds to controversial billboard in Chicago[VIDEO]
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - An anti-snoring billboard, showing an American soldier embracing a Muslim woman, is creating a buzz in Chicago's River North neighborhood.
"I guess there's so many things going on nowadays that you just look at it and nothing surprises you anymore," one man told FOX 32.
"There might be a good amount of people that might take it offensive, but I don't think it's supposed to be anything really serious," added another.
The billboard is for SnoreStop, a California company selling a snore aid with an aim to keep couples together.
"We definitely wanted to find a polarizing couple that would really, maybe not shock, but that would be something that you don't…not a couple that you would normally see in mainstream advertising," Melody Devemark, spokeswoman for Green Pharmaceuticals explains.
Ahmed Rehab, the Executive Director for the Council on American Islamic Relations, has heard the stir over the ad.
"I'm cautiously optimistic that it's a positive image and it's not a negative image of the Muslim woman," Rehab says. "Usually, women who wear the Niqab are subjected to negative portrayals in the media."
The billboard was recently rejected by a company in New York's Time Square because of its "sensitive nature."
"Some of the objection is that they're not really married and that really it's just models," says Rehab.
The company's spokeswoman says the two are models; although, she says, Paul Evans pictured on the billboard is a U.S. Army soldier.
"The inspiration for the couple actually came from Paul. One of his best friends served with him in the Army had fallen in love with a Muslim woman," Devemark tells FOX 32. "And we basically replicated that image of that couple."
The company says reaction to the billboard has been mixed. Some love it and others don't approve of the image.
The spokeswoman says the idea is to show a couple that is represented in mainstream media.