Muslims turn to bus ads in Seattle to create awareness about Islam

The Seattle Times – Muslims turn to bus ads in Seattle to create awareness about Islam

The ads, scheduled to run until November, were designed by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and direct people to a toll-free number and Web site sponsored by the group. ICNA is a New York-based nonprofit that seeks to educate people about Islam and has 22 U.S. chapters in the U.S.

“We feel often Muslims don’t have a voice,” said Aijazi, one of about six people who helped coordinate the local effort to get the ads onto the outside of six Metro buses and the inside of about 25. About 10 local Muslims contributed to the nearly $5,000 campaign.

…A 2007 poll from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showed that 58 percent of Americans surveyed said they knew little or nothing about Islam — a figure that’s changed little since 2001.

And Americans’ attitude toward Muslims and Islam appears to have gotten slightly more negative in recent years. The same Pew poll showed that 43 percent of those surveyed had a favorable opinion of Muslims, down from 48 percent in 2004.

“I don’t think the ads will change anybody’s mind,” said Aijazi, the Bellevue software developer. “People will have whatever feelings they’ll have about the issue. But at least they’ll talk about it.”

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