A group plans to protest near a North Side billboard carrying messages about the Islamic faith.
Protesters are specifically opposed to the message “Jesus is Muslim” that some recently saw on the billboard on Cleveland Avenue in Columbus. The message did not appear on the billboard Friday afternoon, however.
The messages placed by the Ask a Muslim organization also list the group’s website.
Members of several Christian churches say they will pray, preach, sing and carry signs today to promote their belief that Jesus is the son of God who rose from the dead.
“Jesus isn’t Muslim. To insinuate that he is, is a lie, an absurdity,” said the Rev. Bill Dunfee, pastor of New Beginnings Ministries in Warsaw in Coshocton County. “Our motive is just simply to defend the church and promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Muslims call Jesus a prophet and consider all prophets — including Abraham, Moses and Mohammed — to be Muslims.
“Muslims are Christians — if ‘Christian’ means someone following the teachings of Christ, so by learning about Islam, you are not disobeying Jesus,” according to the website of Ask a Muslim, based on the Northwest Side.
The billboards are a collaboration with the New Jersey-based Why Islam, where spokesman Ashfaq Parkar said the group also operates an information line seeking to “promote peaceful coexistence through dispelling misunderstanding about the faith.”
“There’s nothing wrong with having differences in terms of what to believe, and there’s nothing wrong with talking about them and getting know each other,” he said.
A billboard saying Jesus is Muslim might be “a little overboard” and could upset certain Christians, much like certain messages about Mohammed upset some Muslims, said Imran Malik, an advocate of interfaith relations and president of the board that oversees the Noor Islamic Cultural Center in Hilliard.
The center is not associated with the billboard or with Ask a Muslim.
By JoAnne Viviano - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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