MEDIA FAILURE: Dallas Morning News Reports On ICNA Billboard Campaign- No Mention Of Group’s Ties

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The Dallas Morning News is reporting on the latest development in the longstanding billboard campaign sponsored by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). According to the report:

December 5, 2016 Driving down Dallas highways lately, you may have noticed an unusual billboard tucked among the more expected ones advertising Christian churches.

‘ISLAM = Racial Equality,’ read the 12 billboards that have popped up around Dallas and Fort Worth. They provide a hotline phone number and website for ‘Why Islam?’

The billboards were funded by the Dallas chapter of Islamic Circle of North America, using local mosque donations. The group has run these campaigns nationwide for years, but this one, which started Oct. 24, has stood out.

It has prompted more hate calls than the group has received in other cities.

‘We need to do more of these [campaigns]in Dallas, given the amount of hatred we got this time,’ said Imam Jawad Ahmed, who manages the hotline call center in New Jersey. ‘They would just curse the Muslims in general and say things like racial slurs, go back to your country, or get out of America, things like that.’

The group’s local spokesman, Furqan Ansari, of Irving, said the group decided to buy the billboards in an effort to combat what he sees as widespread misinformation about Islam that coincided with the rise of President-elect Donald Trump, and to show solidarity with people of color.

Read the rest here.

The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) is a part of the US Muslim Brotherhood and considered to be closely tied to the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) 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.

The GMBDW has long reported on the ICNA billboard campaign starting in December 2008 when we wrote about the use of highway billboards at that time as the latest part of an advertising campaign by ICNA. We have also cited two recent media reports on the billboards, including a September 2015 Associated Press report that said dozens of billboards with Muslim themes had been erected nationwide in the latest ICNA campaign. Neither the AP report nor the Dallas Morning News report cited above mention the ties between ICNA and the US Muslim Brotherhood and/or the JEI. The failure of the Dallas Morning News is particularly egregious given that this paper once featured cutting edge reporting circa 2007-2009 on the federal trials of the Holy Land Foundation, a Brotherhood-linked organization that was convicted of raising funds for Hamas.

Interestingly, in February 2008 the Dallas Morning News journalist who primarily covered the trials wrote a long piece describing the problems he faced trying to report on the Muslim Brotherhood in the US. According to an excerpt from his piece:

 …. leaders from these Muslim Brotherhood-influenced organizations—CAIR, ISNA, MAS—are typically good at understanding the psychology of liberal American journalists, and know how to intimidate them. But it’s also true that they know how to present a positive spin on themselves and their organizations. They adopt the language of civic engagement and civil society, and deploy it at every opportunity. One young Muslim activist in Dallas who embraces Said Qutb’s message as spiritually enlightening is downright Tocquevillian in the language he uses in public. This is not entirely deceptive. The Muslim Brotherhood’s general strategy is to work through the institutions and as we wrote of civil society to achieve the ultimate goal, which is an Islamic state. It is obviously un-American to decide that Muslim citizens are to be distrusted when they want to participate fully in the political and civic life of this country. The Brotherhood activists understand this, and make this public goodwill work to their advantage. Without informed journalists making meaningful inquiries about the ultimate goal of this or that Muslim group, critics can come across looking like bigots who want to disfranchise and disempower honest Muslim citizens.

It appears that nothing at all has changed since 2008 and as we recently wrote:

We also plead with the mainstream media to start covering these subjects fairly and comprehensively in contrast to the stream of incompetent, poorly researched articles of late which seem intent only on reacting to those disseminating the information as opposed to a serious effort to find out where the truth might lie. Whatever one’s political position, it surely could not be considered positive that the mainstream media in the US has utterly failed to properly cover the subject of domestic Islamist groups. This is in stark contrast to the UK, where such coverage is ubiquitous and lively. The GMBDW stand ready as what we hope is a serious and sober publication to assist any reputable US journalists in such a task although we note that it been many years since we have received a single inquiry on the subject from a US journalist.

Accordingly, the GMBDW is inaugurating a new posting category called “Media Failures” in attempt to she at least some light on this subject.

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