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U.S. Muslims launch ad to fight 'fear-mongering'

By the CNN Wire Staff
Plans to build a Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan  near ground zero have set off a fierce debate.
Plans to build a Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan near ground zero have set off a fierce debate.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A new group releases a commercial in response to the New York controversy
  • The spot includes a wide variety of speakers talking about Islam and themselves
  • The group behind the commercial officially launches it on Monday

Washington (CNN) -- A doctor. A cop. A little girl. A Phillies fan.

They're all Muslims. And, they emphasize in a new online commercial that begins appearing this week, they're all Americans.

"I don't want to take over this country," the dozen-plus speakers say in the public service announcement. "I don't support terrorism."

The online video is an effort to fight back against "the rising tide of fear-mongering" resulting from plans to build a Muslim community center in lower Manhattan in New York, the group behind it said.

The project, called Park51, has come to be known as the "ground zero mosque," although it is two blocks from the site of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Its supporters say it will include many other facilities in addition to a space for prayer.

The group behind the new commercial, "My Faith My Voice," describes itself as a "grass-roots effort by American Muslims from across the country," and says it has "no affiliation to any one organization or school of thought."

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RELATED TOPICS
  • Islam
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  • Manhattan
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It officially launched the video Monday.

The group currently has no money to put the ad on television but hopes to raise funds to do so, it said at a news conference Monday. Asked who had funded the project, Hassan Ahmad, an immigration attorney who is part of the group, tapped his pockets and said, "Part of it is coming from my pocket and part of it is coming from donations."

A one-minute version posted on YouTube includes white, black and Asian speakers, young and old, in clothes ranging from hipster casual to Middle Eastern, with police and doctors' uniforms among them. Most of the commercial is in English, but it also includes a woman speaking Spanish.

CNN's Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.