American Muslims are trying to mainstream the word “jihad,” which literally means struggle, and reclaim it from Muslim extremists.
The campaign features Muslims describing their personal struggles -- the meaning of jihad -- on bus ads, Twitter, Facebook and a dedicated website: myjihad.org. AFP reported.
"#MyJihad is to build friendships across the aisle," says one ad showing an African American man leaning on the shoulder of a Jewish friend.
"#MyJihad is to march on despite losing my son," says another ad, featuring a portrait of a mother with her three remaining children.
"#MyJihad is to not judge people by their cover," says a third, framed by two women in headscarves.
The campaign was sparked by a series of ads calling Muslims "savages" and urging people to "defeat jihad" that were plastered on buses and trains in New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
The anti-jihad terrorist campaign follows years of a worldwide monopoly on the term “jihad” by Muslim radicals, and it remains to be seen whether the US Muslim effort can overcome the well-organized and heavily financed anti-Jewish and anti-Israel jihad.
“Mainstream" Muslims are largely frustrated by a basic tenet of their faith having been distorted and demonized, said Ahmed Rehab who helped launch the campaign.
"Jihad is a term that has unfortunately been widely misrepresented by the actions of Muslim extremists first and foremost, and by attempts at public indoctrination coming from Islamophobes who claim that the minority extremists are right and the majority of Muslims are wrong," said Rehab, who is the executive director of the Chicago branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations."
"The MyJihad campaign is about reclaiming Jihad from the Muslim and anti-Muslim extremists who ironically, but not surprisingly, see eye to eye on Jihad."
The ads have been placed on buses in Chicago and Rehab hopes to raise funds
to expand the campaign to buses and trains in New York, Washington, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, Dallas, Cleveland and Oklahoma City.
Organizers are also working to get the ads on buses in Toronto, London,
Manchester, Sydney and Melbourne.
It may be “too little and too late.”
One of the mostly wide known sites that tracks violent Jihad is Jihad Watch, which provides a daily dose of only a sample of worldwide Muslim violence and hate messages against Jews and Christians. It also follow the implementation of Islamic Sharia law.
Noting the US campaign, Jihad Watch commented, “Jihad is Jihad and will remain Jihad, no matter if the apologetics portray it as 'myJihad' or the west demonize [sic] it as attacking innocent people and blowing up buildings.
“Amazing how the west always push [sic] the Muslims under the defensive, reactionary angles. Its almost a reverse psychology effect -- to counter the efforts of the west Islamaphobes and the extremists, we must portray it as something else which in the end plays into the hands of the west and her plans - to push their version of Islam, an Islam that fits in with their idea.
“Clearly the battle of idea is taking place with attacks on jihad. Its sad that the Muslims are being dragged in and are pushing the west's line by choosing the wrong side. If we remember speeches where it was said this battled against the ideology,’ the battle of ideas is ongoing and can only be won from within....”