Pro-Islamic adverts taken down from London railway stations

12 January 2012

Muslim charity The Qur’an Project was displaying pro-Islamic posters in five major London Railway Stations – Waterloo, Victoria, Liverpool St, Marylebone and St Pancras International during the period 10 – 24 December 2012. The project aimed to tackle Islamophobia by educating people about Islam. The places had been reserved and they had agreed on the cost of the advert. However, the adverts were taken down by JCDecaux, the company who manages advertising in the UK railways.

In their letter to The Qur’an Project, JCDecaux gave the following reason: “…rail companies have pointed out that this is not acceptable and we should not have done so. As a consequence, we began the process of removing your posters from the rail stations over the weekend…”
The move has been considered to have Islamophobic motivations since JCDecaux and Network Rail have allowed similar campaigns for other religious groups over the last two years.

Protesters denounce Metro North ads as Islamophobic, call on MTA to rethink campaign

WHITE PLAINS — As supporters held up signs protesting Islamophobia, a coalition of community leaders and residents gathered downtown Thursday to denounce anti-Muslim advertisements posted at Metro-North stations throughout Westchester County.

The coalition revealed its plan to counter the anti-Islamic campaign, calling on Metro-North to distance itself from the advertisement and donate revenue earned from its publication to an organization that combats extremism.

Paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative — a group led by Pamela Geller — the ads associate the religion of Islam with 19,250 terrorist attacks carried out by extremists since Sept 11, 2001. Printed in large block lettering on a dark background, an asterisk denotes that number is rising, and a slogan below reads: “It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.”

Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner called on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to publicly denounce the signs, suggesting a disclaimer be placed on Metro-North platforms saying the agency does not support the advertisement.

Marjorie Anders, a spokeswoman for Metro-North Railroad, said it does not endorse the viewpoint expressed in the ad but refrains from banning advertising based on its message. Anders added that the railroad relies on advertising to generate revenue. MTA chairman and CEO, Joseph Lhota, has indicated the agency will discuss its policies on political ads later this month.

Toronto Transit Commission won’t remove controversial ads

The Toronto Star – April 4, 2012

Two ads that have drawn public complaints because of their religious messages will continue to run on the TTC. One ad for the Walk-in Islamic Info-centre has offended some because it states, “There is no god but Allah.” The other is a bus stop ad that counsels prayer as the answer to a child’s abusive domestic circumstance.

“There is nothing that violates any of our policies, and we do have policies around our advertising (based on) the Ontario Human Rights Code, not promoting hate or violence,” said TTC spokesman Brad Ross. “You don’t have to agree with the message, you don’t have to like the message of the advertiser. Our suggestion would be that if somebody takes issue with the ad they take it up with the advertiser,” he said.

Plans for Islamic Shopping Centre

09./ 12./ 13.01.2012

Noura A. , a Muslim business woman in Hamburg/ Harburg, is planning on opening the first “Islamic Shopping Center” in a vacant property that was previously used as a restaurant. She is already advertising for business partners who want to rent parts of the property – and focuses exclusively on Muslim partners. Her plans have already caused debate amongst Hamburg’s politicians and business people, who feel that an exclusively Islamic shopping centre is not supporting the integration process. Furthermore, it needs to be checked whether Noura A.’s plans constitute a breach of the anti-discrimination law.

Muslim Teenagers Convicted After Painting Burkas over Women in Advertising Posters

01.08.2011

Last week, two Muslim teenagers who were arrested for painting burqas over scantily-dressed women in Lynx advertising posters at a bus stop in London in February, were convicted at Thames Magistrates’ Court in East London. The teenagers admitted to drawing burqas over a number of advertising posters, as the way in which the posters showed women was against their religion. As it was considered to be a “sin” for women to be uncovered, the two vandals were “trying to do good”, the Daily Mail reports. The two young men were each told to pay £283 and released on a 12-month conditional discharge.

Halal-Related Advertising Grows in France with the Start of Ramadan

News Agencies – August 6, 2010
It’s food advertising with a halal twist – billboard posters that go blank in daylight hours during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Halal food distributor “Isla Delice” has launched posters on August 10 which show an empty table by day. By night, thanks to a clever back-lighting system, the posters change to become replete with delicious traditional Muslim foods. Isla Delice’s advertising line is Fièrement halal (“Proud to be halal”). Some 6,000 other billboards promoting their meats are on display throughout France.
Halal is a huge industry in France, worth around 5.5 billion Euros in 2010 and growing by 15 percent each year. Some 90 percent of France’s five million Muslims eat Halal food. “Mainstream halal advertising campaigns have been about for barely a year,” says Abbas Bendali, head of Solis, an organization that observes ethnic marketing trends in France. “Halal advertising is accelerating.”

Islamophobia in Austria (3:42)

Abendland in Christenhand (The West is Christian) is the slogan the FPÖ, the Austrian Freedom Party, is using for the European elections. But many Austrians don’t find the slogan Christian at all, and are distancing themselves from the mayhem surrounding it. The Kitzbühel tourism board is alarmed too. They’ve invested a lot of money in advertising to Islamic countries, and the tourists feel the placards are insulting. The city council finds itself in the hot seat.

Italian magazine ‘Yalla Italia’ tries to narrow gap with Muslims

New Italian magazine, “Yalla Italia” (Let’s Go, Italy) written predominantly by second generation immigrants, has been launched with the aim to introduce Italians to diverse cultures taking root in the country, and help Muslim immigrants navigate their dual identities. Yalla Italia’s chief editor, Martino Pillitteri, said that he saw the differences between his mission and that of Italian conservatives, as symbolic of the divide in Italy’s Muslim population – “one vision driving toward the past, the other driving toward the future,” he says.

The magazine’s launch thus counters what he believes is a very one-dimensional view of Muslims in the Italian media – one that focuses too much on radicals and suspected terrorist, and is saturated with negativity. For the most part, the magazine’s emphasis is not political and does not try to preach change – but aims to encourage mutual understanding. Yalla Italia was first published in May, 2007, and appears as a monthly insert of Vita – a magazine geared towards the nonprofit sector, and has a circulation of 36,000. Of the magazine’s demographics, “Immigrants are not just people who wash ashore on a beach. We pay taxes, participate in society, strive to integrate. We are the future of Italy, and we want to be protagonists of that future,” says Ouejdane Mejri, a contributor to Yalla Italia.

Contemporary Muslim Consumer Cultures – an Emerging Field of Study

Consumer culture in the Muslim world, or Muslims as a specific target group who participate actively in a consumer market, are rather new realms for academic researchers. For many Muslims, consumption plays an increasing role in identity formation. Their growing cultural and religious self-awareness transforms markets, advertising strategies and consumer behavior. Muslim consumer culture is closely interrelated to globalization and is, therefore, of relevance to various areas of economic, sociological, anthropological, psychological and religious scholarship. However, so far scholarly research on this subject has been very limited. And though studies very often acknowledge or include the interdisciplinary character of Muslim consumer culture, there is still a need for a comprehensive analysis of its many aspects.

The conference aims at creating a network of international scholars and young researchers with various approaches to the subject, and it also aims at initiating exchange and cooperation between them to develop the basic grounds for this emerging field of study. It will include two invited keynote speakers, two panel discussions led by experts, and a number of workshops during which all participants will have the opportunity to present and discuss their research projects. There will be no more than 20 speakers to allow useful discussion. We especially encourage applications from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Submissions of abstracts and papers on the following broad themes are encouraged:

  • Issues of advertising products for a Muslim target group 
  
  • Gender-specific consumption behavior in a Muslim context 

  • “Western” versus “Islamic” brands 
  
  • The question whether there is such a thing as an Islamic consumer, and how it can be defined 
 Products geared toward a religious public (e.g. Islamic fashion) 
  
  • Recent developments in the consumer landscape of Muslim societies 
  
  • Religious and moral factors affecting individual patterns of consumption or legislation, e.g. questions of ritual purity.

All papers that are submitted by the start of the conference and successfully complete a peer-review process will be published in a concerence volume.

Please submit your application, including an abstract of about 150-200 words and a short c.v., by May 15, 2008, preferrably by e-mail. Registration fee is 50 €; lodging, breakfast and lunch meals will be provided. We offer a reimbursement of travel costs for participants from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Turkey, the Americas and the countries of the former Soviet Union if their institution is not able to cover them.

Contact: Freie Universität Berlin, Institut für Islamwissenschaft, Dr. Johanna Pink, Altensteinstr. 40, 14195 Berlin, Germany, phone: +49 (0) 30-838-51437, fax: +49 (0) 30-838-52830, e-mail: jpink@zedat.fu-berlin.de.

The Muslim Market

With a buying power roughly equal to that of the entire state of Indiana, the growing Muslim population in the United States – estimated between six and eight million – is an attractive segment of the population for marketers. Ann Mack of the JWT advertising agency describes the interest of Muslim Americans to be support products and brands that they can related to. Muslims are more interested than most Americans in seeing advertising that acknowledges them says Mack. Using sex to sell is a common marketing strategy in the United States, but this strategy often has the adverse effects for Muslims. Foods, tailored financial services, modest clothing, and household goods in accordance with Islamic law are among some of the facets of relatability that are important for many Muslim consumers.