INDIANAPOLIS - A new billboard on the city's east side is up for motorists to see. The ad was put in place as a measure to counter what Muslim leaders have said is an anti-Muslim ad that could incite violence.
Last month, a billboard went up that has been called "The Perfect Man." It claims to list the traits of the “perfect man,” but critics said it denigrates the prophet Muhammad.
Leaders of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana wanted to respond with an ad of their own. That message is now up and is being called "The Truthful Man."
“When people see that other billboard that is full of lies, we want to give them the opportunity to when they see our billboard, it’s an education billboard and a positive billboard," said Sabeel Ahmed, the executive director of GainPeace Project, the organization that put the billboard in Indianapolis. "We want to build bridges and educate our fellow Americans so we can live in peace and harmony.”
GainPeace is an outreach program through the Islamic Circle of North America. It's goal is to educate Americans about the fundamental teachings of Islam and encourage dialogue, promote justice, and mutual understanding.
When the "perfect man" ad went up, leaders of the city's Center for Interfaith Cooperation spoke out against the ad. Muslim community members at Thursday's launch of the "truthful man" said locally there has always been cooperation between Muslims and people of other faith who live in the area.
Even though there has been a positive relationship, leaders of the Muslim community felt they needed to defend their prophet. "We as humans, personally, we correct our records if someone says something negative against us," said Ahmed. "Muhammad is much more dear to us than any other person."
The new billboard is just a piece of the $15,000 campaign.
GainPeace has made 15,000 flyers with more information about Muhammad and Islam. They'll be delivered to homes in Indianapolis.
There is also a 30-second commercial that the organization wants to get on social media and other video outlets.