A controversial Islamic lobby group has published an ad in California newspapers seeking to win acceptance with the message that Muslims “respect and revere Jesus” as do Christians.

The ad by the Southern California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, is headlined “More In Common Than You Think,” with a photograph of the old city of Jerusalem.

CAIR has launched an advertising campaign called “Islam in America,” which in the wake of tensions resulting from the 9-11 terrorist attacks aims to dispel stereotypes and portray Muslims as ordinary citizens who love their country.

The “Jesus” ad, quoting from Islam’s book the Quran, reads:

”’Behold (O Mary!)’ The Angel said, ‘God has chosen you, and purified you, and chosen you above the women of all nations. O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him, whose name shall be the Christ (Masih or Messiah), Jesus son of Mary, honored in this world and in the hereafter, and one of those brought near to God.’ (Holy Qur’an, 3:45)

“Like Christians, Muslims respect and revere Jesus. Islam teaches that Jesus is one of the greatest of God’s prophets and messengers to humankind.

“Like Christians, every day, over 1.3 billion Muslims strive to live by his teachings of love, peace, and forgiveness. Those teachings, which have become universal values, remind us that all of us, Christians, Muslims, Jews, and all others have more in common than we think.”

Muslims point out, however, that they reject Christian belief in Jesus’ divinity and regard him only as a prophet.

Muhammad, in fact, is considered by Muslims to be superior to Jesus because Islam’s founder is believed to have brought God’s final revelation.

CAIR claims to be a civil-rights group that represents mainstream Muslims in the U.S., but the group is a spin-off of the Islamic Association For Palestine, labeled a “front group” for the terrorist organization Hamas by two former heads of the FBI’s counterterrorism section.

CAIR issued a condemnation Monday of Israel’s assassination of Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin that made no mention of Hamas or Yassin’s responsibility for countless terrorist attacks against Israel, which were part of his stated objective to destroy Jews and the Jewish nation.

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