Los Angeles (10/28/98) - CAIR is calling on Los Angeles-based KCOP Television, Inc., channel 13, to remove billboards deemed offensive to Muslims. The billboards, reportedly seen in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Gabriel, and other cities, feature a picture of Usama Bin Laden with the headline "the sworn enemy." A sample picture of the billboards can be seen at the following site: (courtesy of the MSA at USC) http://www.nayzak.com/~cair/
In a letter faxed to CAIR, KCOP President and General Manager Rick Feldman explained that this billboard is part of a billboard campaign which "intends to take recognizable characters and situations that affect people's lives because they are in the news." Other characters that will follow, include: Bill Clinton, Bernard Parks, Madeleine Albright, Oscar De La Hoya, and others.
"By placing an unidentified stereotypical picture of a Muslim with a beard and a turban, KCOP's billboard is implying that all men who look like him are like him, sworn enemies," said CAIR Southern California Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. "It is not right for advertisers to be sensational at the expense of reinforcing negative stereotypes of Muslims," said Ayloush. In regard to the billboard campaign itself, Ayloush commented that unlike the current one, the rest of the characters to follow have a positive image and do not stereotype a whole religious or ethnic group.
CAIR is currently working with the local Muslim community on an educational campaign on Islam in response to the soon-to-be- released movie, ‘The Siege', which Muslims believe unfairly links their religious practices to terrorism.
ACTIONS REQUESTED: This billboard is an insult to the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who live in Southern California. Your calls and letters are important. Contact KCOP TV and ask that the billboards be removed and that an apology be offered to Muslims.
President and General Manager
KCOP Television, Inc.
915 North La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038-2383
TEL: (213) 850-2252
Fax: (213) 851-4187
(As always, be FIRM, but POLITE)