National campaign hoping to dispel myths about the Islamic region

Islamic billboards posted in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – #Who is Muhammad?

It's one of three signs that can be seen driving through Jacksonville and they've got people curious... so much, that the organization behind the signs need more people to handle the volume of calls they're receiving.

The group is The Islamic Circle of North America, and it's a national campaign with nearly 80 billboards throughout big cities in the US hoping to dispel myths about the region... and educate.

News4Jax spoke with a man who said the Islamic religion is seen often times in a negative light because of things happening around the world but he said the group would like to change that.

There's three billboards throughout Jacksonville and according to the organization behind them more than 500 thousand people will see them each week this month alone.

The billboards instruct people to call a hotline to get their questions answered about the Islamic religion., and they have received thousands of calls

Mohammed Ilyas, the regional president for the group, Islamic Circle of North America, said its looking for more volunteers to help answer calls and the signs have only been up about a month.

"Mostly they call about, if they have questions, they want to visit the Islamic center, they want to meet with the Muslims, they want to get a free copy of the Koran, or any other Islamic literature. Just to visit the Islamic center," said Mohammad Ilyas.

Ilyas said the national campaign is to help clear up myths about Islamic beliefs and the Prophet Muhammed's message he said many people associate the religion with terrorist groups and negativity... but with more than 1.4 billion Muslims in the world.... he says it's time they educate people about the misconceptions.

"I don't control my color, I don't control my language, I don't control my ethnicity, but I control myself, my character, my conscious, I control my relationship with the other. I think if we change our criteria on how we judge people that's how we can establish justice," said Ilyas. 

The local Islamic center offers several services to people in need in the community.... they have a free clinic that helps with lab tests, X-rays and doctor consultations as well as a shelter for battered woman and a food pantry for anyone who needs help. http://www.icnef.org/  

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