ABC News: PSA reminds Americans that Muslims condemn terrorism, too

Muslim-Americans are airing a new public service announcement on the heels of the London terrorist attacks. The PSA is an effort to show that Muslims are just as outraged by terrorism as any other religious group. Muslim-American groups say they have been blamed for not publicly condemning terrorism. So, in an effort to change that perception, the Council on American-Islamic relations is launching a nationwide public service campaign. The goal is to make it clear that Islam is not about hatred or violence.

Exactly one week after suicide bombers attacked London, America’s largest Muslim group says now is the time to reach as many people as possible to remind them that Muslims condemn terrorism.

“Even though Muslims have been condemning terrorism consistently and persistently over the past months and years, the message has not been received by certain members of the open community,” Ahmed Rehab, Council American-Islamic Relations.

By using different faces of Islam, the Council on American-Islamic relations is hitting the airwaves to get their message across.

Several Chicago Muslim groups say while they have made great progress since 9/11 to erase stereotypes, one act of terrorism can take them several steps backward, which is why many say the public service announcement is so important right now.

“The Muslim community as a whole is in extreme fear, depression and sorrow, and they want the opportunity to let average Americans out there know how terrible we feel about the situation,” said Ali Khan, American Muslim Council.

Some Muslim-Americans actually blame their own community for not getting this message out clearly. Civil rights attorney Kamron Memon believes ever since 9/11 Muslims have focused most of their attention defending themselves against the Patriot Act. Memon says it’s time to shift the focus.

“We have been focused to a great extent on the civil liberties side. We have not paid as much attention to the national security side and to issues like what we as American Muslims can do to help make our country safer,” said Kamran Memon, civil rights attorney.

Muslim-Americans say their community needs to do more than PSA’s. Groups say an open discussion about national security is needed with different religions, government agencies and average Americans.

copyright © 2005, ABC-TV 7 News.