Billboards that are being displayed in parts of Ohio are certainly getting people talking. The large advertisements have been paid for by a local Muslim organization and say things like, “Jesus is Muslim,” and “Mohammed is in the Bible.” As WSYX ABC 6 reports, this has some people outraged and others defending the message.
The billboards are promoting Ask A Muslim, an organization that is, “dedicated to educating you about Islam, giving you a chance to hear about Islam from practicing Muslims.” Kenneth Tour, who became Muslim five years ago, spoke with WSYX. He said that the point of the billboards is to get people to learn about Islam, and that, “When we say Jesus is Muslim, someone who is Muslim, what that means is, someone who submits to God.”
The Columbus Dispatch spoke with Ashfaq Parker, whose organization, Why Islam, collaborates with Ask A Muslim. He told the paper, “There’s nothing wrong with having differences in terms of what to believe, and there’s nothing wrong with talking about them and getting know each other.” Judging by Ask a Muslim’s website, it appears their message is also directed toward those who practice Islam who might be dubious of the connection between their religion and Jesus Christ. In their, “Jesus was Muslim” section, they write, “…Muslims are Christians – if “Christian” means someone following the teachings of Christ, so by learning about Islam you are not disobeying Jesus.”
Regardless of the intent of the message, people are getting offended. WSYX spoke with Dave Daubenmire, a radio show host, motivational speaker, professor, former football coach, and head of the Pass the Salt Ministry. Daubenmire told WSYX, “The ‘Jesus is Muslim’ one is just really the one that jumped out at me, because I saw that, number one, as a blatant lie.”
The Dispatch spoke with Reverend Bill Dunfee, pastor of New Beginnings Ministries. He echoed Daubenmire’s sentiments, saying, “Jesus isn’t Muslim. To insinuate that he is, is a lie, an absurdity. Our motive is just simply to defend the church and promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Daubenmire, Dunfee, and Reverend Rusty Thomas of Operation Save America subsequently held a, “Jesus is Lord” prayer rally near the billboard this past weekend in Columbus. In a press release sent to Christian Newswire, Daubenmire wrote, “Although we support the Islamic community's right to free speech, as well as their right to post messages on billboards, we do not support the hi-jacking of the nameof Jesus Christ in their attempt to lure uninformed Christians into their religion.” Operation Save America was less diplomatic about the rally, writing on their website, “It appears that the Muslim community in Columbus, Ohio, is becoming increasingly arrogant in spreading its monstrous religion, with its false book, and its false prophet, right in the face of the Church of Jesus Christ in Columbus. It has purchased space on three billboards around the city spreading lies about the Gospel of Christ.”
The rally didn’t appear to have attracted a large crow, though maybe that’s just because it was raining. Or maybe the angles from NewsWithViews.TV don’t give an accurate representation of how many people actually attended.