ICNA’s Latest Billboard Campaign Obscures Group’s Role


Local media has reported on the latest billboard campaign of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). According to a Detroit News report, the campaign is being conducted under the auspices of an organization by a different name:

urlThe Detroit News, February 2, 2014   Perched along Interstate 96 near Milford Road for the past month, a large red billboard asks travelers in the thousands of vehicles that pass it daily: ‘What is Islam? Who are the Muslims?’

The sign in Oakland County also lists a phone number and website for GainPeace, a Chicago nonprofit associated with the Islamic Circle of North America.

The curious who follow through have the chance to earn a free copy of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, and learn more about the religion, which is the aim of the group’s campaign.

‘We want to do away with the misconceptions people have about the fundamentals of Islam,’ said Sabeel Ahmed, national director of GainPeace. The initiative, launched in cities nationwide and in Canada, started several years ago yet gained momentum in the wake of the controversy in 2012 surrounding the film ‘Innocence of Muslims.’

The video shared online was considered anti-Islamic and sparked international outrage. Inaccurate depictions and beliefs about Muslims have persisted since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Ahmed said.

Countering that with education, he said, is essential not only for improving perceptions but fulfilling one of the Muslim faith’s goal of educating others.

Read the rest here.

The website of GainPeace describes it self as “a non-profit organization whose main goal is to educate the general public about Islam and to clarify many misconceptions they may hold” and acknowledges that it “works under the umbrella of Islamic Circle of North America..”

The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) is a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and considered to be closely tied to the Jamaat-e-Islami organization of Southeast Asia, itself allied with the Global Muslim Brotherhood. ICNA is particularly close to the Muslim American Society and the two organizations have been holding joint conferences in recent years.

Our predecessor publication had first reported on the ICNA billboard campaign in 2008 and 2009.

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