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A Brooklyn imam who has been linked to various terror plots to destroy landmarks is targeting New York City passengers in 1,000 subway cars with a new campaign to draw people into Islam.
Siraj Wahhaj has defended convicted would-be bombers and labeled FBI and CIA agents “real terrorists,” according to a report by the New York Post. He is now attempting to convince New York City residents that Islam is a religion of peace by promoting advertisements for the Islamic Circle of North America. The campaign has been approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and is set to run four weeks in September during Ramadhan.
Wahhaj, a former member of the Nation of Islam, was named by U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White as one of 170 co-conspirators in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. He appears in a YouTube film for ads promoting “The Subway Project.”
“In time, this so-called democracy will crumble, and there will be nothing, and the only thing that will remain will be Islam,” Wahhaj said in a sermon.
The promotion video opens with a Quran passage stating, “Invite them to the way of your lord with wisdom and fair preaching.”
Imam Wahhaj opens the video saying 4.9 million people ride New York City subways daily.
“That’s a lot of people,” he said. “I want you to think about those 4.9 million people. Imagine them seeing the name of Muhammad. Imagine them seeing the word Islam. Imagine them seeing the word hijab [modest dress].”
Simple black and white ads designed to immediately capture passenger attention state “Q: Prophet Muhammad?” or “Q: Islam?” or “Q: Head Scarf.” The answer to all questions is “A: You deserve to know.”
In the black background, the following dark gray words are barely visible: Terrorism, peace, fundamentalism, Abraham, Jesus, Moses, Shariah, submission, peace, paradise, afterlife, monotheism, charity, guidance, repentance, Allahu Akbar [God is great], Assalamu Alaykum [Peace be upon you], 5x day, faith, belief, morals, worship, misunderstood religion, Prophet Muhammad, Allah, no pope and 1,500,000,000 followers.
The ads then direct people to an information phone number and website for the campaign. Representatives for the Islamic Circle of North America say the promotions are harmless and aim to reveal the true nature of Islam.
“Anyone who looks at this ad objectively can see that it is not preaching anything,” Azeem Khan, the group’s assistant secretary general, told the New York Post. “There is a lot of Islamaphobia out there. We provide people with a chance to speak with an actual Muslim who is informed.”
Imam Wahhaj of Al-Taqwa mosque defended “blind sheik” Omar Abdel-Rahman, a man who was convicted of plotting the 1992 World Trade Center bombings. In the promotional video, Wahhaj expressed excitement about the outreach project and prospective recruits to Islam.
“Brothers and sisters, this is one of the greatest projects I have ever seen,” he said.