PENNSYLVANIA – Showing solidarity with Philadelphia Muslim community after the city’s transportation authority approved anti-Islam ads, dozens of religious leaders took part in a rally that aimed to send a message of love to the religious minority.
“We have to speak out against hate,” Bilal Qayyum, who reverted to Islam more than 45 years ago, was quoted by CBS on Tuesday, March 31.
“It does nothing to help the city if we separate people by religion and races. We have to come together.”
Qayyum was speaking during Tuesday’s interfaith rally that was attended by scores of Christians, Jews, and Muslims who came to protest the anti-Muslim bus ads that link Adolf Hitler to Islam.
Launched by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), the bus ads show Adolf Hitler meeting with Palestinian grand mufti of Al-Quds (occupied Jerusalem) Haj Amin al-Husseini, and the words: “Islamic Jew Hatred: It’s in the Qur’an.”
Under terms of a $30,000 contract, the Islamophobic campaign will display the offensive ads for a month on the sides of 84 public bases.
“It’s the antithesis of Islam to go berserk and cause destruction, violence, and vandalism against Septa — don’t do that,” Imam Mikal Shabazz, who also attended the rally, said, referring to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).
Marchers from different faiths were joined by city officials like Mayor Michael Nutter who told the crowd: “Philadelphia is a city of hope.”
The anti-Muslim bus campaign in Philadelphia is not the first in US.
A similar campaign was launched in San Francisco last January by anti-Islam blogger Pamela Geller.
Another campaign was launched by the pro-Israel group last September by placing similar anti-Islam ads on New York buses and in Subway stations.
The ads feature an image for James Foley, the American journalist, who was killed by the so-called Islamic State (ISIL), along with the slogan: “Yesterday’s moderate is today’s headline.”