Offensive Anti-Muslim Radio Ad Pulled

September 26, 2006

Source: USA Today

On September 26, 2006 USA Today reported, "Not so funny. Keith Dennis came to that reckoning after a radio ad planned by his Ohio car dealership was criticized as anti-Muslim and refused by several radio stations. The commercial called for a 'jihad on the automotive market.' It said salespeople would be wearing burqas, a traditional garment in some Muslim nations, and kids would get rubber swords on 'fatwa Friday.' 'Our prices are lower than the evildoers' every day,' the script said. 'Just ask the pope!' 'Jihad,' an Islamic term for an utmost struggle, is sometimes used to mean a religious war. A 'fatwa,' a legal pronouncement in Islam, can be a declaration of war. 'This was simply an attempt at humor that fell flat,' Dennis, owner of Dennis Mitsubishi in Columbus, said in a statement apologizing 'to anyone who was offended.' The canceled ad, which was to start airing Friday, was the latest in a string of ads withdrawn after criticism that they were anti-Arab or anti-Muslim. 'It's definitely something that's become more prevalent in the last two to three years,' says Tony Kutayli of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Such ads 'spread hatred and fear,' he says. Objections in May from the Arab American Institute and other groups stopped billboards planned by the Missouri Corn Growers Association to promote ethanol, a corn-based product used in a blend with gasoline. The billboard showed a farmer standing in a cornfield and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. Between them was the question: 'Who would you rather buy your gas from?'"