Islam Online has reported that the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), closely tied to the Jamaat-e-Islami organization of Southeast Asia and allied with the Muslim Brotherhood, has expanded its public transportation advertising campaign to Chicago. According to the report:
Leslie C. Toole has been considering to embrace Islam for the past ten years. But when the Chicagoan teacher saw a simple ad on a public bus, he knew the moment has come. “I never truly committed and when I saw that sign I knew that was the final sign to complete my move,” Toole, 45, told IslamOnline.net. Toole had come across Islam on a street corner ten years ago when a man handed him a pamphlet telling him he’ll find enlightenment in it. “And I kept reading and reading and I wanted to make sure that I understand what I got involved in.” Just last month, an Islam advertisement rolled past him on one of the Chicago Transit Authority buses. The sign caught his eyes and eventually he called the number on the giant ad. “How to become a member of Islam was my primary question.” Toole embraced Islam on Monday, September 29. His story is similar to that of 17 other Chicagoans who accepted Islam this month alone thanks to the Islam ad campaign of GainPeace, a Chicago area outreach project of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). The group spent $30,900 to place signs on 25 public buses serving across Chicago. The ads direct people to a toll-free hotline, 800.662.Islam, and a website established to help those who are seeking answers to questions about Islam. The campaign was initially to run from September 19 to October 20, but it has been extended till November 23 because of the massive positive feedback. The hotline has received thousands of calls, in addition to up to 300,000 hits on the website. When curious Chicagoans dial the hotline, GainPeace also provides them with an English copy of the Noble Qur’an, The Message magazine on Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) as well as brochures and books on topics related to Islam. Novel Campaigners say the aim of the bus ad campaign was to find a novel way to steer people toward information on Islam.
The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) is a less well-known part of the Muslim Brotherhood network in the U.S., generally thought to be closely tied to the Jamaat-e-Islami organization of Southeast Asia, itself known to be allied with the Muslim Brotherhood. ICNA is particularly close to the Muslim American Society and the two organizations have been holding joint annual conventions for many years. Previous posts have discussed similar ad campaigns in Seattle and New York. The New York campaign drew national media attention when it was reported that Siraj Wahajj, an American Islamic convert associated with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was behind the New York campaign.