'Offensive' Billboard Sparks Outrage Among Local Muslim Residents In Indianapolis

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A blatantly racist billboard situated on a major Indianapolis highway had been under fire…

Photo Credit: Samer Ismael

Note: we are republishing this story, which originally made the news in June 2017, amid record high levels of political division in America. According to Pew surveys, the US ranks among the highest in the world according to how many people feel more divided than before the pandemic. More on this here: https://www.latimes.com/politics/newsletter/2021-10-15/us-most-divided-nation-in-worldwide-survey-essential-politics

A billboard situated on a major Indianapolis highway has been under fire for insulting one of Islam’s most revered figures, the Prophet Mohammed. The sign describes the Prophet as “The Perfect Man” while also referring to him as a “slave owner & dealer” and someone who “tortured & killed unbelievers.”

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This has sparked worry and outrage from local Muslim leaders and organizations, as the anti-Muslim ad is just one of many Islamophobic demonstrations shown though out the state to date.

Rima Shahid, the executive director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana, responded: “These are completely false statements,” and added: “I’d really like people to read about the seven points that are mentioned on the billboard because you’ll find that none of them are true.”

The billboard ends with the words “Educate Truthophobes,” which when searched online produces several anti-Muslim websites in the search results.

Shahid said: “It’s a cowardly act because they didn’t put a name on the billboard even though they must have gone through a lot of effort and resources to put it up.”

Photo Credit: Samer Ismael

“As a Muslim Hoosier, I am outraged and shocked that this would go up in our city,” Shahid said. “This is the first time hate speech like this has appeared. We didn’t think these type of beliefs existed in Indianapolis and now it’s in the heart of the city.”

Although the Muslim population in the state is about 3 percent, she adds that the negativity shown in the billboard represents only a “small faction of a fringe group.”

Ali Khan, a resident from Indianapolis, admits the sign makes him “sick” to see it.

“You feel under attack when you see something like that, it’s just so hateful to spread vicious lies about a religion,” he said. “If someone is confused or has a problem with Islam, why not just talk to a Muslim before paying for a billboard?”

Shadid hopes for better American-Islamic relations despite the rising tensions towards religious hate in America.

Sources: NBC News / Photo Credit: Samer Ismael

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