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CNN Smears Prominent Brooklyn Imam

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    Prominent American Muslim imam associated with criminal terrorist acts during CNN American morning segment Tuesday, July 22, 2008
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 4, 2008
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      Prominent American Muslim imam associated with criminal terrorist
      acts during CNN American morning segment
      Tuesday, July 22, 2008


      [ ... ] CHETRY: Well, it's not the message but the messenger that's
      causingquite a debate over a new ad campaign that's set to go up
      here in NewYork City's subways. The posters will try to fight
      negative stereotypesabout Islam during the morning commute. But it's
      the man behind the ideathat's raising some eyebrows. Mary Snow has
      more on the plan to educate city commuters that could gooff the
      rails -- Mary.

      MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, a group promoting
      Islam istrying something new. It's targeting New York's roughly five
      milliondaily subway riders with ads. But it's the face promoting
      those adsthat's prompting discussion that organizers are trying to
      erase. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

      SNOW (voice-over): Q: Head scarf? Q: Islam? These subway ads are
      designed to battle negative images of Islam. Theyaren't even put up
      yet but they've already sparked this "New York Post"headline "Jihad
      Train." "The Post" story focuses not so much on themessage as the
      messenger, an imam who's now promoting the project tospread
      awareness about Islam to millions of subway riders. (BEGIN VIDEO

      IMAM SIRAJ WAHHAJ, AL-TAQWA MOSQUE: Imagine them seeing the word
      Muhammad. Imagine them seeing the word Islam. Imagine them seeing
      theword hijab. (END VIDEO CLIP)

      SNOW: Imam Siraj Wahhaj draws attention because he's among
      170unindicted co-conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing
      case.And he served as a character witness to the man convicted of
      being themastermind of that bombing, Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman (ph).

      IMAM SIRAJ WAHHAJ, AL-TAQWA MOSQUE: The context of me being a
      characterwitness for Sheikh Abdel-Rahman (ph) is what we knew about
      him beforethe incident.

      SNOW: A former U.S. prosecutor in the case says while Wahhaj was on
      alist of unindicted co-conspirators, he was never charged.

      thelist is probably an interesting footnote to people. I get asked
      about it every couple of years when some story or another about
      Wahhaj comes up. But I, you know, I think it's -- the list is a
      tempest in a teapot.

      SNOW: Wahhaj says while he may be a controversial figure, he was
      alsothe first Muslim to lead a prayer before the session of the
      House ofRepresentatives in 1991. But he admits there are things he
      said heregrets, such as calling the FBI and CIA terrorists.

      WAHHAJ: What I was saying is that no, not that all of the FBI
      areterrorists or the CIA are terrorists. But there are some elements
      inthere. So if you want to accuse some Muslims, OK. These Muslims
      didthat. But don't undermine the entire faith. That's really the
      message. (END VIDEOTAPE)

      SNOW: The group behind the ads, the Islamic Circle of North
      America,says it welcomes the imam's promotion of their campaign.
      They say he isoften portrayed the same way Islam is portrayed. The
      ads are slated togo up in 1,000 subway cars in September to coincide
      with Ramadan -- Johnand Kiran.

      CHETRY: All right. That was Mary Snow for us. And again, shesays
      these ads are scheduled to go up in subway cars. The MTA looking to
      make about $48,000 out of that ad campaign.


      The NY Chapter of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and it's
      877-WHY-ISLAM project have put together an informational ad campaign
      about Islam where 1,000 ads will be running in 1,000 New York City
      Subway cars this upcoming Ramadan for 30 days.

      The campaign has already generated serious media attention (see to
      right). Alhumdulilah even before having one ad placed in the subway
      millions of people have seen the ad and many have visited our
      website or called our 877-WHY-ISLAM information hotline.

      Imam Siraj Wahhaj has been maligned in the media simply for
      supporting this effort. We should stand firmly by his side and
      defend him and defend freedom of religion and speech.

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