A controversial Muslim lobby group in Washington said it has elicited apologies from the Boeing Co., Bell Helicopter Textron and the National Journal for publishing an advertisement depicting U.S. troops attacking a mosque.
The Washington-based Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR, said it sent a letter Thursday to top officials of Boeing, Bell and parent company Textron asking for an investigation into how the ad was approved for publication.
“We thank Boeing, Bell and National Journal for their swift and decisive response to our concerns,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. “Mistakes can happen, but the true test of a company’s integrity comes in acknowledging and dealing with those mistakes.”
The ad for the CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft depicted soldiers rappelling onto the roof of a building, labeled “Muhammad Mosque” in Arabic.
CAIR noted the building “has a dome, crescent moon and minaret, all common features of a mosque.”
A CAIR news release said Awad “will follow up with all parties involved to determine how the ad was produced and to help prevent similar incidents in the future.”
American Muslim groups, according to CAIR, “are always ready to consult with corporations and media outlets on issues related to religious diversity and culturally-sensitive advertising.”
In its reply to CAIR, Boeing stated: “The CV-22 advertisement that appeared in the National Journal is clearly offensive, and did not proceed through the normal channels within Boeing before production.”
Mary Foerster, vice president of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems Communications, said, “We consider the ad offensive, regret its publication and apologize to those who like us are dismayed with its contents.”
Foerster said that when Boeing became aware of the advertisement, the company immediately requested its partner’s agency withdraw and destroy all print proofs and replace it with one that was appropriate.
“Unfortunately despite our best efforts to have the ad replaced, a clerical error at the National Journal resulted in its publication this week,” she said.
CAIR said representatives of Bell Helicopter and National Journal also contacted the Muslim group to express regret for the publication of the ad.
National Journal Executive Vice President Elizabeth Baker Keffer said the ad “was run as the result of a clerical error on our part. We had received specific direction from the agency representing Boeing/Bell to not run the ad. We have apologized to Boeing, their partner Bell, and their advertising agency for this mistake.”
A Bell statement sent to CAIR said in part: “We recognize that some organizations and individuals may have been offended by its content and regrets any concerns this advertisement may have raised. Bell and our partners are evaluating creative processes to prevent this from happening again.”
CAIR, which recently urged Congress to pass a resolution officially recognizing the Islamic fast of Ramadan, regularly seeks apologies for alleged offenses against Islam.
But the organization is a spin-off of the Islamic Association for Palestine, identified by two former FBI counterterrorism chiefs as a “front group” for Hamas. Several CAIR leaders have been convicted on terror-related charges.
Although CAIR signed a fatwa, or decree, condemning terrorism in general, the group repeatedly has attacked the prosecutions of Islamic terrorists arrested or convicted since 9-11 and the government’s freezing of Islamic terrorist fronts, calling it a “war against Islam” by the United States.