As Chicagoans turn their gaze to the sky this weekend they'll be greeted by the following message: “Give Blood---Save Lives---Muslims for Life.”
The message will be on a banner trailing from a plane, with over a million people watching Chicago’s 53rd annual Air and Water show.
The group behind the banner is a local Muslim denomination known as the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. In 2010, they launched “Muslims for Peace” and “Muslims for Loyalty,” both grassroots campaigns meant to spread the truth about Islam. Ads ran from the side of Chicago buses to electronic billboards in Times Square, New York. This weekend they are launching “Muslims for Life,” to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11.
The banner attempts to push the message that Muslims want to protect life, not take it.
“Terrorists have painted an untruthful picture of Islam--of death and destruction, whereas Islam protects the sanctity of all human life” said Haris Ahmed Public Affairs director for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. “As we approach the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, we wanted to conduct blood drives aimed at saving American lives.”
The Ahmadiyaa Muslim Community is aiming to raise 10,000 units of blood nationally--enough to save 30,000 lives, the group said. Members from the local Chicago chapters plan on dispersing twenty thousand “Muslims for Life” brochures through the weekend.
Spokesperson for the event, Farah Qazi said the group decided the Air and Water Show was the best way to promote the blood drive to Chicago’s diverse community. “This is an interfaith and community-partnered event,” Qazi said. “We hope to invite people from all backgrounds to be a part of this massive effort.”
The blood drive is one part of a series of events the group is hosting to commemorate 9/11’s 10th anniversary. Other events include interfaith services and various press conferences to reiterate Islam’s message of peace and nonviolence in a world that is sometimes “Islamaphobic,” Qazi explained.
The blood drive will take place in the days leading up to Sept. 11 at various locations including mosques, churches and established blood banks like Lifesource.
More information about the campaign can be found at www.muslimsforlife.org. Questions about the blood drive can be directed to PR@IslaminChicago.org.