Islamic Studies

Background on What's Happening with ICNA and the NYC Community

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;

There is perhaps no name better known in the American Muslim arena other than that of Imam Siraj. Almost every Muslim in this country is familiar with the fatherly face of the Imam standing before the crowd, captivating it with flowing wisdom. Unfortunately this very figure whose entire life of selfless work for the community has served as a glowing light for the Muslims has been associated with the all too familiar smears of terrorism and violence. What initially began as the inclusion of his name on the 1993 list of un-indicted co-conspirators to the World Trade Center bombing, along with over a hundred others, has only persisted to continuously taint the Imam’s honorable reputation. The fact that there was no evidence whatsoever linking him to the bombing, which is why he remains ‘un-indicted’, is not so innocently overlooked by those that seek to defame him.

In the latest episode of slander and insult, attempts are being made to prevent the most commendable of endeavors – that of informing others of our religion. What would otherwise be seen as a completely harmless effort is now being portrayed in the most negative of lights. Not surprisingly a campaign of its own has grown from the seeds of post-911 hysteria to bring the work to an end.

As you may have heard, the Islamic Circle of North America through its 877-WHY-ISLAM project has planned to sponsor 1000 ads in NYC subways during Ramadan. These ads serve to clear away common Islamic misconceptions and encourage them to learn about Islam from a direct and more reliable source. Imam Siraj has been of the most enthusiastic supporters of this project with the hope to benefit the larger community. Never would he imagine that his simple involvement in this project would be used to stir up such an uproar. Dramatic headlines such as “Jihad Train” and “Train-ing Day for Jihadists” of the NYPost, as well as others by Fox News have dominated the media limelight. YouTube bloggers such as mosquewatch have posted videos urging listeners to tear down the ads when they see them.

While leaders such as Imam Siraj and those involved with the ICNA continue to put their reputation on the line for projects such as these, it is imperative that we support them in the efforts that they undertake, as that is their greatest wish at the moment – to use this opportunity to gather as much support from the community as possible, not just verbally but also financially. After reading this, please make an extra effort to donate to these causes immediately and ask your friends to do the same. It is the least we can do with hopes that Allah includes us in His own list – the list of those who strive in His cause, and what a just and righteous cause it is!




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Project Promo Video:

Press Coverage so Far

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010.


  • Why is there such a hysteria being cooked up?? There are all sorts of trash being displayed daily. Here you have a simple black and white poster with simple words – and yet its deemed to be vile???
    A similar campaign was done in London a while back. Allhamdulillah one person came to Islam as a result of it.

  • As salamu ‘alaikum,

    The reason why this is a big problem is because there is an active campaign for Islam to be defined by everyone else except Muslims. This is why everyone in public discourse can speak for Islam except for Muslims. Orientalists, Pundits, Apostates, Hypocrites and Political Analyst tell the world what Islam and Muslims are about.

    Some dismiss it but I believe the current propaganda campaign is a significant threat to Muslims. Wherein the effort of dawah is to be extinguished and made to be a “terrorist threat”. The upshot is that the media hype fuels public opinion and gives the administration the fuel to implement the type of policy that is being adopted via religious and racial profiling.

    We should note that Muslims in the West have never been ‘real Muslims’. Rather we have been painted with the broad stroke of Middle Eastern conflicts and terrorism. For the West to give legitimacy to the indigenous populations that have lived here peacefully for hundreds of years and congealing in the last 100 hundred years then it blows up the “Clash of Civilizations” thesis. So all Muslims have to be painted with the brush of Al-Qaeda or the Palestinian conflict or Darfur or Iran/Iraq. We are who they say we are!

    Now that we move to a more visible posture then it threatens the media-hype machine.

  • Salaam brother,
    While this is an important issue, I don’t think linking to the articles is a good idea. It only gives them more pageviews and ad revenue, and if the story is “popular” enough, they will continue with it. Also, google will make it go higher in the rankings, instead of your posting.

  • ****says:
    These people (media) are not dumb, they have agenda and their agenda is clearly explained in quran. Allah says:

    Their intention is to extinguish Allah.s Light (by blowing) with their mouths: But Allah will complete (the revelation of) His Light, even though the Unbelievers may detest (it). (61:8)

  • @Sulayman F

    If you visit the foxnews link you will find all 3 ads which can be clicked on and seen in full size. I commend foxnews for giving us free advertising!

    CNN so far, hands down has done the best coverage with real investigative journalism! For the first time ever someone from the Prosecution team has commented on the bogusness of the “maybe alleged un-indicted co-conspirator” list. They also aired Imam Sirajs responses to some of the things attributed to him.

    The Post itself mentioned the 1-877-WHY-ISLAM number and website address!

    So it’s all free advertising. Alhumdulilah!

  • Salaam,
    The only reason fox is presenting such adverts is because they have to keep the public quiet. If they were to show that they dont support muslims, no one believe the lies fox spreads.

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