On Monday, 25 CTA buses began sporting ads from “My Jihad,” a new educational campaign introduced by the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Chicago chapter (CAIR-Chicago).
Founded by Ahmed Rehab, CAIR-Chicago executive director, the campaign was conceived as a response to the anti-Islam ad campaign created by conservative blogger Pamela Geller, who ran a series of controversial “Defeat Jihad” ads on city buses last month.
(Scroll down to view photos of the “My Jihad” ads.)
The goal of the campaign, Rehab explained, is “reclaiming Jihad from the Muslim and anti-Muslim extremists who ironically, but not surprisingly, see eye to eye on Jihad,” according to a CAIR statement.
The literal meaning of Jihad, according to the BBC, is “struggle or effort” — not simply a “holy war” waged on behalf of Islam. It is a central doctrine of the Islamic faith.
In addition to the public ads, the campaign urges supporters to use the #MyJihad hash tag to share insight into their own personal struggles or efforts. Muslims and non-Muslims alike have already contributed to the campaign.
“It is also about pushing for an intelligent and informed understanding of Islam and its concepts and practices in the media, the educational circles, and the public,” Rehab continued. “Most of all, this campaign is about giving voice to our views, our practices, and simply put, our reality, a reality that is too big to be left out of the conversation.”
As Gellar did with her ads, Rehab hopes that the “MyJihad” ads will also appear in cities including New York, San Francisco, Houston, Seattle and Washington, D.C. in the future.