A new billboard campaign against extremism and Islamophobia may not be the most subtle tactic, but it is showing to be very effective. The Sound Vision Foundation has put up a billboard in Chicago declaring: “Hey ISIS, you suck!!! From: #ActualMuslims.”
“We launched the campaign in light of the constant pressure on American Muslims to condemn ISIS, especially since Muslims are the biggest victims of ISIS,” says Leena Suleiman, the director of creative engagement at the non-profit. “The very fact that ISIS is a menace to humanity and foremost to Muslims… is a huge piece of the puzzle that is consistently and unfortunately overlooked.”
Ms. Suleiman makes the point that anti-Muslim hate plays directly into the hands of these extremists. “Islamophobia begets extremism and vice versa. On a local scale, when an Islamophobe starts otherising Muslims, this can make a Muslim feel unwelcome in his or her own country. On a global scale, Islamophobia gives fuel to and ‘legitimizes’ the angst that extremist groups feel, which is converted into a violent ideology, however baseless and harmful.”
The campaign was largely funded by local professional Muslim Americans.