A billboard along an Indianapolis interstate describes “The Perfect Man,” listing six features including “Married 6 year old,” “Rapist,” and “Beheaded 600 Jews in one day.”
Local Muslim leaders told the IndyStar they were furious, saying the billboard mocked the Prophet Muhammad, one of Islam’s holiest figures.
“It is a horrible billboard. I’m outraged by it, but saddened at the same time … and I would like to know who is behind it,” Rima Shahid, executive director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana, told the IndyStar. “It seems very cowardly to me. If you have some kind of stance, you should want to stand up next to your statement. I didn’t think there was any room for hate in our city. This billboard tells me otherwise.”
The billboard can be seen from the southbound lanes of Interstate 465 and is privately owned, according to the IndyStar.
While no particular organization has claimed it, the phrase “Educate Truthophobes” is at the bottom of the billboard. There were no websites provided on the billboard, but there is a “Truthophobe” website covered in anti-Muslim messaging aimed at “exposing the truth” about the Islam.
The billboard even caught the attention of Indiana Republican Sen. Todd Young, who found the billboard troubling.
Hate crimes have seen a significant spike recently. Just last month in Portland, Jeremy Christian, a white supremacist, reportedly stabbed and killed two men who confronted him as he verbally abused two Muslim women on a train.
Christian showed no remorse in a courtroom outburst.
“You call it terrorism, I call it patriotism,” Christian said, according to the Associated Press.
There’s also a “March against Sharia,” sponsored by ACT for America, being planned in Indianapolis on Saturday. The march will also take place in more than 20 cities across the United States, according to ACT’s official website.
“Sharia is incompaitble (sic) with our Constitution and with American values. We stand against female genital mutilations and child marriages,” the Facebook event page for the march read.
Nonetheless, Shahid told IndyStar the billboard only fuels untrue perceptions of Islam and only serves to divide people.
“Muslims represent about 3 percent of our state’s population. The fact is that most people have never met a Muslim, and there are so many misconceptions and so many divisions, and this kind of hate furthers those divisions,” Shahid said.