- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 24, 2006

Muslim leaders have denounced an Ohio auto dealership’s plans to air radio ads proclaiming a “jihad” on competitors and offering “Fatwa Fridays” — with free swords for children.

The ad for Dennis Mitsubishi in Columbus, Ohio, says sales representatives wearing “burqas” — head-to-toe garments once forced on Afghan women by the Taliban regime — will sell vehicles that can “comfortably seat 12 jihadists in the back.”

“Our prices are lower than the evildoers’ every day. Just ask the pope,” says the ad, which has been rejected by several radio stations. The ad offers “free rubber swords for the kiddies” on “Fatwa Friday,” using a term for an Islamic religious edict.

The ad uses “really just reprehensible-type comments,” said Adnan Mirza, director of the Columbus office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“Using that as a promotional pitch when so many are dying from the criminal activity of suicide bombers, that’s not funny,” said Asma Mobin-Uddin, president of the CAIR chapter in Columbus. “I don’t think it’s appropriate when it causes real pain. It exploits or promotes misunderstanding in terms already misunderstood or misused.”

Dealership President Keith Dennis said the ad does not disrespect any religion or culture. He said it was “fair game” to poke “a little fun at radical extremists.”

“It was our intention to craft something around some of the buzzwords of the day and give everyone a good chuckle and be a little bit of a tension reliever,” he said.

The commercial has not been broadcast, but employees at the dealership said they had been deluged with telephone calls about the ad campaign.

The ad, written and produced by the company, will begin airing next week, Mr. Dennis said.

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