In December of 2007, a conservative organization known as Freedom Watch created an advertisement with a message of support and thanks to America’s troops serving around the world. They were rejected by NBC.
In April of this year, a Muslim organization known as the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) created an advertisement with a message to counter Islamophobia from the ‘conservative right’. They are currently running on NBC Universal media networks.
The alleged difference?
NBC claimed their reason for rejecting the Freedom Watch ad was because “the group insisted that the spot contain the URL address of its Web site.” However, the new ICNA ads clearly contain the groups WhyIslam.org website.
The real difference?
Freedom Watch is an organization that supports the war on terrorism. The ICNA simply supports terrorism.
According to the ICNA website, TV commercials featuring CharactersUnite.com and WhyIslam.org were broadcast for 2 weeks in April 11, 2011. The group teamed up with NBC Universal media group to show the ad 130 times on networks including A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, CNN, Planet Green, Hallmark, History, Headlines Network, MSNBC, National Geographic, Oprah Winfrey Network, Travel Channel, the Weather Channel and USA Network.
The WhyIslam campaign has controversy of its own. The group’s chair, Amir Mertaban, recently referred to Hamas terrorists as freedom fighters who have ‘done a lot of good’ in Palestine, and he refused to denounce the group.
In 2008, WhyIslam ran a series of Muslim subway ads, promoted by a Brooklyn imam whom federal officials had linked to a plot to blow up city landmarks. That Brooklyn imam is Siraj Wahhaj, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
And according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, WhyIslam’s goal is not to combat Islamophobia by promoting tolerance:
Rather than promote an understanding and tolerance of Islam, however, WhyIslam tells its audience that Islam is the only way. "Islam, as a way of life, is the solution to all problems of the human race, and is the only hope for the present as well as the future," the group says in one pamphlet, "Islam Explained," that is regularly handed out from WhyIslam tables and booths across the country.
The WhyIslam message is run under the umbrella of the ICNA, which promotes some very controversial ideas by some very controversial individuals. Various reports show that the ICNA has a prolific resume, including:
- Supporting the imposition of sharia law.
- Having ties to the terrorist organization, Hamas.
- Demonstrating deep ties to the fundamentalist Pakistani political party, Jamaat-e-Islami.
- Expressing support for individuals such as the Ayatollah Khomeini and Mahmoud Ahmadenijad.
- Presenting Anwar al-Awlaki as a guest speaker alongside Siraj Wahhaj at a co-sponsored convention. Awlaki has been connected with three of the 9/11 hijackers, and has since praised the murderous rampage by the Fort Hood shooter that took 14 lives, and the failed attempt by the Christmas Day bomber to kill 278 innocent people.
- Maintaining close ties to international groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, whose motto reads: Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.
In 2004, NBC explained that they couldn’t run certain ads because they have “straightforward corporate policies on accepting ads about controversial topics.”
Apparently, NBC doesn’t view terrorism as controversial. But supporting and thanking the troops – that’s where they draw the line.
Rusty can be contacted at The Mental Recession