The ads are simple and stark.
Running on the sides of several Metro buses, they merely say: “Q: Islam. A: You deserve to know,” with a phone number and Web site.
For Bilal Aijazi, a Bellevue software developer, the ads are meant to stir conversation and steer people toward information on Islam.
As a Muslim, Aijazi sometimes fields questions about his faith. Especially during Ramadan, which began about two weeks ago, people ask Aijazi why Muslims fast during this Islamic holy month.
Then there are the questions he gets other times of the year: Why some women wear head scarves; whether Muslims condone terrorism.
“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.
“This is just a way to present the community with a source of information about Islam that comes from Muslims themselves,” he said.
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.
In addition to Seattle, the New York and Chicago chapters plan to run ads on public transit this year. The bus ads haven’t stirred controversy in the Seattle area, but in New York, where 1,000 of the ads are scheduled to go up in subways later this month, U.S. Rep. Peter King urged subway officials to not display them. (MORE)