Indiana Muslim Community Denounces Controversial Billboard

Indiana Muslim Community Denounces Controversial Billboard

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A large billboard with the headline “The Perfect Man” stands along one of Indianapolis’s major highways and raises concerns in the local Muslim community who consider the billboard an attack on the Prophet Mohammed.

The billboard includes a six point checklist that reads “Married 6 year old,” “Slave owner & dealer,” and “Beheaded 600 Jews in one day,” describing the “perfect man.” Many Muslim Americans and Muslim leaders challenge those responsible for the billboard and the hateful message it sends.

One Indianapolis resident Ali Khan has driven by it and told NBC News he feels “sickened” by it.

“You feel under attack when you see something like that, it’s just so hateful to spread vicious lies about a religion,” Khan said. “If someone is confused or has a problem with Islam, why not just talk to a Muslim before paying for a billboard?”

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Rima Shahid, executive director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana, told the IndyStar the billboard mocked the holy figure and called the billboard “cowardly.”

“It is a horrible billboard. I’m outraged by it, but saddened at the same time … and I would like to know who is behind it,” Shahid said. “It seems very cowardly to me. If you have some kind of stance, you should want to stand up next to your statement. I didn’t think there was any room for hate in our city. This billboard tells me otherwise.”

The bottom of the anonymous billboard reads “Educate Truthophobes,” which points to an anti-Muslim website aimed at “exposing the truth” according to the Miami Herald.

Republican Indiana Senator Todd Young tweeted his disapproval over the billboard on June 5th.

Anti-Muslim incidents and crimes in the U.S. rose 57 percent since 2015 according to a report by the Council of American-Islamic Relations.

Just last month, a 35 year old white supremacist killed two men and injured one who were protecting two Muslim girls on a train in Portland, Oregon. About two weeks ago, IndyStar reports a Muslim woman was beaten in an alleged hate crime. The person believed to be the attacker yelled “you all will be shipped to Africa.”

New America Media is partnering with the Documenting Hate Project, a collaborative of media outlets, civil rights groups and tech companies nationwide working to document the rise of hate crimes and incidents of bias or harassment in the United States since the 2016 election. If you have experienced or witnessed a hate crime or incident of bias or harassment, you can use this form to send information about the incident to the Documenting Hate Project. The form is not a report to law enforcement or any government agency. It will be used as part of a national database for use by journalists, researchers and civil rights organizations. Read our stories here.