An anti-Muslim billboard that attacks the Islamic Prophet Muhammad is causing outrage in Indianapolis.
According to IndyStar, the billboard's headline reads "The Perfect Man," but the sign goes on to describe Muhammad with bullet points such as "slave owner & dealer" and "married a 6-year-old." The bottom of the billboard reads: "Educate Truthophobes."
The name "Muhammad" does not actually appear on the billboard.
Rima Shahid, executive director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana, said she wants to know the identity of the anonymous person or group behind the privately-owned billboard:
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It is a horrible billboard. I'm outraged by it, but saddened at the same time... and I would like to know who is behind it. It seems very cowardly to me. If you have some kind of stance, you should want to stand up next to your statement.
I didn't think there was any room for hate in our city. This billboard tells me otherwise. This kind of rhetoric just furthers division in our state and makes a neighbor question a neighbor, just like I am today.
Republican Sen. Todd Young of Indiana tweeted on June 5: "This is beneath us -- disturbing and divisive. Displays like this incite and offend rather than educate."
Democratic Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana told IndyStar that he is disappointed that people are using free speech as a platform "to spread hateful, vile things that are divisive to people."
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"I think there's a way to debate and be Socratic without being disrespectful or undermining people and causing a sense of isolation," Carson added.
Faryal Khatri, a spokeswoman for the Indianapolis-based Islamic Society of North America, called the billboard untrue, said it was hurtful, and suggested that it could incite hate crimes toward Muslims or people mistaken for Muslims.
Carson is calling on people of faith to "come together and say this is unacceptable," especially because ACT for America, an organization run by activist Brigitte Gabriel, is planning a "March Against Sharia" in 23 American cities, including Indianapolis, on June 10.
The ACT for America website says that the march is against Sharia law, which does not exist in the U.S., and opposes honor killings and female genital mutilation, neither of which are legal in the U.S.:
However many aspects of Sharia law run contrary to basic human rights and are completely incompatible with our laws and our democratic values.
We, at ACT for America, are committed to protecting women and children from Sharia Law and its impact on Muslim women and children including honor killing and Female Genital Mutilation. We must ensure that every woman and child enjoy the protection afforded by the U.S. Constitution.