American Muslims Release PSA to Combat ‘Anti-Muslim Rhetoric Stemming From' Ground Zero Mosque Issue

By Nicholas Ballasy | August 31, 2010 | 5:22 PM EDT

Pedestrians walk past the 19th century building on Park Place in Manhattan where Muslims plan to build a mosque and cultural center. (AP Photo/Louis Lanzano)

( -- A coalition of American Muslims has released a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to combat what they call “anti-Muslim rhetoric stemming from the Islamic center issue” in New York City. The PSA says Muslims do not want to “take over this country” and do not “support terrorism of any form.”

“We aren’t associated with any group. We maintain our independence and everyone who worked on this did pro bono and paid for the costs out of their own pockets,” Hassan Ahmad, project manager of the initiative called "My Faith My Voice,” told

"There  is no organization behind this,” said Ahmad. “It’s just a network of American Muslims who wanted to do something about the rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric stemming from the Islamic center issue in New York. We have no ties to the Park 51 people.”

My Faith My Voice’s PSA contains a group of diverse individuals addressing stereotypes of Muslims.

"In recent weeks, a lot of people have been telling you what to think about Muslims,” says one individual in the 60-second PSA.

“They say you should fear me, suspect me, hate me; but the truth is I don't want to impose my faith on you,” says the individual. “I don’t want to take over this country and I don’t support terrorism of any form.”

The PSA, which the coalition unveiled in a press conference at the National Press Club on Monday, also says Islam teaches individuals to “respect all people.”

“Islam teaches me to respect all people,” says the PSA. “I am an American. I am Muslim. This is My Faith. This is My Voice.”

According to its Web site, My Faith My Voice is “a grassroots effort by American Muslims from across the country looking to present their voice on issues affecting Muslims and Islam in America. It is an independent network with no affiliation to any one organization or school of thought. It is a platform for you, me and anyone else who wants to reach out and talk directly to America.”

On Monday, the coalition gathered with Jewish and Christian leaders at the Western Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. to speak about the PSA.

The Ground Zero mosque controversy concerns the actons of the Cordoba Initiative, headed by Islamic cleric Feisel Abdul Rauf, which wants to convert a building two blocks from Ground Zero in Manhattan into an Islamic community center. The building in question was damaged by the landing gear of one of the hijacked planes that was crashed into the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Opponents of the proposed Islamic center argue that its location is insensitive to the families and loved ones of those killed and injured when al-Qaeda attacked on 9/11. In addition, many opponents have raised questions about the source of the funding for the project, which has to date not been disclosed. They have also raised questions about the cleric behind the project.

On Sept. 30, 2001, two weeks after the 9/11 attacks, Imam Rauf  told CBS’ “60 Minutes,” “I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened. But the United States’ policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.”
When CBS’ Ed Bradley then asked, “You say that we’re an accessory—how?” Feisal said, “Because we have been an accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world. In fact, in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA.”

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) earlier told, "I think we should investigate the imam who is going to be at that mosque. He is portrayed as being a moderate, a bridge builder. The fact is he was on television after 9/11 saying the U.S. brought this on themselves."
"To me, there are enough questions here," said King. "If those questions are raised, examined and explored, you could build up enough public opinion to stop the mosque."