If there’s one thing in this contentious election year that nearly every American citizen can agree upon, it’s that ISIS totally, totally sucks.
And there’s no one more fed up with those monsters than, well, actual Muslims.
The vast majority of people killed by violent jihadists are Muslim themselves — and yet, the 3.3 million Muslims who live in the United States are continuously (and unfairly) called upon to condemn every act of terror committed in the name of radical Islam.
“Maybe we shouldn’t have to explain ourselves,” Omar Ali, a third-generation Muslim American, said in The Islamic Monthly. “But the truth is these are the unfortunate times that we are in, where perhaps we do have to take that moment and speak to and reach out to people.”
“Obviously Muslims know that ISIS sucks,” Leena Suleiman of the nonprofit Islamic media organization Sound Vision said in an interview with NBC.
“It’s about shouting out, ‘ISIS does not represent me, I’m Muslim, I say the word ‘sucks,’ I’m like everyone else in my country,'” she said. “We want to scream it from a billboard.”
And that’s exactly what they did.
This anti-ISIS billboard went up on Aug. 4, 2016, in Chicago.
It sends the #ActualMuslims message loud and clear for any Chicagoans driving northbound on I-294.
“Designing, creating and implementing the billboard idea was truly a grassroots effort by a group of Muslims from Chicago who, like me, sincerely want to let the world know that we are Americans and love this country and will not allow an extremist fringe group to hijack our faith,” said Ali, who worked with Sound Vision on the campaign.
“Our aim was to remind people that we are actual, everyday Muslims who want to live our lives, practice our faith and do the best we can as Americans.”
So far? It looks like it’s working.
I love the #ActualMuslims billboard. We need to stop punishing an entire religion for a segment who hijack it for their own malevolence.— Jackie Weinstein (@jack_weinstein) August 5, 2016
Way to go, Chicago Muslims! #ActualMuslims #CanYouHearUsNow pic.twitter.com/UhJK6djFKN— Alya Jess Chaudhry (@AlyaJessC) August 4, 2016
Just drove past ISIS_SUCKS billboard on I294 by #ActualMuslims. Amazing!!!— Irfan Khan (@AhmedIrfanKhan) August 4, 2016
Thank you for the message on the billboard! #ActualMuslims— Michal Kolesar (@kolisko) August 7, 2016
In addition to this hilariously delightful ad placement, Sound Vision is also offering numerous resources for Muslim Americans and allies to help fight Islamophobia.
This includes downloadable brochures explaining how the words of the Prophet Muhammad actually condemn ISIS and slavery, as well as a concrete action plan for fighting extremism and hate. There’s even a helpful link for people interested in bringing an “ISIS sucks” billboard into their own community!
ISIS definitely sucks. But all Muslims do not.
Of course, it will take a little more than just a few chants of “You suck! Go home!” to end the reign of ISIS. But Islamophobia contributes to Islamic terrorism, and when we threaten to ban Muslims from the country, we’re giving more fuel to the fire.
American Muslims already stand in solidarity with their nation — they are Americans, after all.
Now it’s our turn to stand behind them (and their awesome billboard) to denounce the undeniable suckage of those two sucktastic suck monsters: ISIS and bigotry.
That’s the only way to win.