Muslim billboards popping around Orlando

Commuters crawling in traffic along Interstate 4 cannot help but see them --  billboards with messages about Muhammad.  The boards went up Thursday at four locations in Orange County.  Atif Fareed is chairman of the American Muslim Community Centers,  or AMCC, in Longwood.   He says the billboards offer an invitation.  "An invitation to get the facts, because there is a lot of misinformation out there," he said.

AMCC is working with the Islamic Circle of North America or ICNA on the Orlando billboards project.  One board asks "Does Muhammad love?"  Another says "Muhammad believed in peace, social justice and women's rights."   All of the billboards invite people to visit, or to call a hotline with any questions.   "We want you to call a real Muslim who practices Islam who lives in your community, and is part of the American experience, and we want to share our experiences with our fellow citizens," Fareed said.

Over the next month, there will be ten billboards in all, including in Orange and Seminole counties, and two in Daytona Beach.  Fareed understands some people will choose to believe stereotypes about Muslim-Americans.  "Some people are determined.  They've already made up their minds but a lot of people are very open minded."

Fareed says the campaign is a little edgy, but it will engage people to find facts about the Islamic faith. "Ignorance is the common enemy of all of us.  If you know the facts then you are not fearful. Those who do not have the facts are usually fearful."