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A coalition of US Muslims launched a Web-based campaign Monday aimed at countering what they
Front page of MyfaithMyvoice.com
'My Faith, My Voice' campaign seeks to give voice to Muslim Americans facing hostility.
called a rising tide of anti-Islamic sentiment and to show themselves as Americans who love their country.
The group launched a website and online video featuring brief clips from American Muslims, including young children, with comments such as "I'm an American," and "I don't want to take over this country."
The "My Faith, My Voice," campaign is in response to the controversy over plans to build an Islamic center near the site of the World Trade Center in New York destroyed in the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The group said it takes no position on the Ground Zero mosque itself, but wants to counter the anti-Muslim atmosphere stemming from the polemic.
"We are concerned about this rising tide of anti-Muslim sentiment," said Hassan Ahmad, a Washington lawyer who is one of the coordinators of the campaign.
Ahmad added that "there is no way that this coalition could take a position on (the New York mosque) because we are just a diverse coalition of ordinary Muslims."
He added: "There is no organization behind this, there is no mosque that can take ownership of this. This is just the voice of American Muslims, plain and simple."
David Hawa, producer of the one-minute video, said it offers a message that is "fresh and unique."
"We often hear from certain circles that Muslims are trying to take over America of impose our faith on you," Hawa said. "We are trying to showcase that this not what we are trying to do."
The group's Web page, http://www.myfaithmyvoice.com, allows Muslims to upload their own video clips and comments and "speak directly to the American public about what is in their hearts and on their minds."
For now, the message is distributed only on the Internet, although the group may raise funds to air the ad on television later, organizers said.
The campaign comes amid an increasingly heated campaign over the Islamic center proposed near Ground Zero, which has provoked demonstrations from supporters and opponents and stirred up emotions nearly nine years after the September 11 attacks.
Hassan said the new campaign would not address whether to build the center but that Muslims are "talking about the anti-Muslim rhetoric and fearmongering that has unfortunately stemmed from that."
According to Muslim organizations, the Islamic community has faced an increasingly hostile climate -- from more taunts to violence.
An Islamic center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, was torched last week and a mock pig was placed in another in Californa inscribed "No Mosque in NYC."
"I have had hatred thrown at me simply because I am Muslim," said Nadia El-Khatib, one of those speaking at Monday's campaign launch.
"This project is meant to end that cycle of 'You hate me, I'm going to hate you back."
The video features Muslims who are white, black and Asian, and include a police officer and a doctor, and some in casual dress such as T-shirts or polo shirts. There are also several children. The women all wear head coverings.
Johari Abdul-Malik, an imam in Washington who also attended the launch, said, "The real issue for us is that many people complain, 'Where is the voice of the American Muslim community?'
"If people can see Muslims being ordinary, they will think of them as ordinary people just like everybody else."