Even before the outrage over a planned Quran burning, American Muslim groups have been mounting an offensive against a rise in anti-Islamic sentiment, taking to the airwaves to provide a more peaceful view of Islam.
With the emotional uproar over plans to build an Islamic community center near ground zero raging, a canceled Quran burning in Florida, and protests against mosques across the country, American Muslims are stepping up public-relations efforts to counter what many observers see as a growing anti-Islam fervor.
The campaigns are not coordinated. Rather, the renewed efforts reflect a sense across various Muslim communities that nearly a decade after 9/11, anti-Islam sentiment is a growing threat that must be taken seriously.
“You saw some anti-Muslim views after 9/11, but they were relegated to the fringes of society where they should be,” said Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR. “Now anti-Muslim sentiment has really been mainstreamed.”
Among the campaigns:
• On Sept. 1, CAIR launched an advertising campaign featuring Muslims who were among the first responders to the 9/11 attacks. The TV ads are a direct response to the “wave of anti-Muslim hysteria” triggered by Park51, the beleaguered Islamic center and mosque slated for two blocks from ground zero, Mr. Hooper said.