In an effort to wane down anti-Muslim stereotyping in the Fifth Congressional District, where Democrat Keith Ellison, a Muslim candidate has been in a bruising campaign for Congress, the nation’s largest Muslim organization launched Wednesday its first “anti-terror” TV ad in Minnesota.
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based civil rights group is paying for the 30-second ad, which will run in the upwards of 50 times over the next several days.
Ellison’s opponents accused him of being associated with terror-tied groups including CAIR, but he and CAIR vehemently denied of such associations.
On its website, CAIR said it’s running the ad “in Minnesota to counter anti-Muslim stereotyping in [Minnesota]’s Fifth Congressional District race.” Being a “non-partisan” they underline that they can’t endorse candidates as an organization.
The ad, which will air during Monday night’s popular Vikings football game, will also air on a leading cable channels such as CNN, MSBNC and Fox News.
CAIR said the ad is born out of an online petition that called for the disassociation of Islam from the terrorist acts of “few” Muslims. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims around the world signed that petition.
“We often hear claims [that] Muslims don’t condemn terrorism and that Islam condones violence. As Muslims, we want to state clearly that those who commit acts of terror in the name of Islam are betraying the teachings of the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad,” said the two, head-covered young women and the older man in the ad. “We reject anyone ¬ of any faith – who commits such brutal acts and will not allow our faith to be hijacked by criminals. Islam is not about hatred and violence. It’s about peace and justice.”
Nihad Awad, CAIR’s executive director and a former schoolmate of Ellison at the University of Minnesota, is among national Muslims who donated and stumped for Ellison. Alan Fine, the Republican opponent of Ellison accuses him of being pro-terrorist groups, but President Bush praised Awad and other Imams following September 11.
In an op-ed piece on the Star Tribune last week, Awad and another CAIR official denounced Ellison’s critics as “handful of right-wing bloggers, agenda-driven commentators,” who use “scurrilous smear tactics in an attempt to derail his campaign and to marginalize American Muslim voters. These smears and distortions send an un-American message of intolerance and bigotry.”
Ellison is widely believed to trounce his opponents on Nov. 7 in the heavily Democratic Fifth District. If he wins, he’ll be the first Muslim in the U.S. Congress.
Watch Ad Here: (www.cair.com/video/psa.rm)