Since its inception in 1988, Sound Vision’s aims have been purely religious, spiritual development, religious education and edification, as well as bridge-building with the neighbors of other faith.
We have focused our efforts on “helping tomorrow’s Muslims today”, as our motto goes, by developing all kinds of programs to Muslims in North America and around the world to learn more about their faith. This is reflected in the two million people who have learned to read the Quran and pray five times a day through our programs Al-Qari and Let’s Pray.
Many of North America’s 3,500 Masjids have used our programs to teach, develop sermons, as well as lesson plans for children and adults. Churches and interfaith partners, as well as teachers who are not Muslim have used our material to explain and/or understand various facets of Islam, be it Ramadan, how to reach out to a Muslim neighbor in times of distress, or handle a Muslim holiday.
From the start, we have also emphasized the need for Muslims and their neighbors of other faith to work with each other. This had led to various campaigns for the common good. One of these was a successful push to declare rape a war crime in the wake of the genocide in Bosnia in the early 1990s. Sound Vision was the seat of Bosnia Task Force USA which along with the National Organization of Women (NOW) lead this campaign. The chair of the Bosnia Task Force was no other than our president Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid.
It was due to this interfaith and community-building work through Sound Vision and its daily Radio Islam that our president was elected to chair the Parliament of the World’s religion, the oldest established interfaith organization in the world.
Throughout our 26 year long service we have been a bridge builder clarifying when hate monger blame Muslims for imposing sharia, we explained how Muslims in North America practice Sharia and why the US Supreme Court honored Prophet Muhammad in 1935 as one of the 18 greatest law givers of all time. And how Muslims living Sharia is similar to Jews in America living their Halaca law and Catholics their Canon Law.
Pamela Geller & Robert Spenser Attacks on Sound Vision program
Part of the aim of educating both Muslims and their neighbors about Islam is familiarizing people with the life of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. Knowing him is knowing Islam, and he is the example and role model Muslims aspire to follow. This is why we began holding Seerah conferences called Stand With the Prophet in Love and Peace against Hate and Terror.
We have organized a number of these events across the United States with no problem - until Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and their merry band of Islamophobes decided to show up to our conference in January 2015 in Garland, Texas.
The event was organized four month in advance by 30 volunteers to gather hundreds of Sound Vision supporters.
Geller, Spencer, & Co. were clearly capitalizing on the Charlie Hebdo massacre that had occurred just days before our event, something we had been planning for months. With the momentum of hate and fear of Muslims that was already bubbling in the wake of the attacks, they decided to strike. And the Seerah conference was the perfect target.
Flying in from New York, she and Spencer rightly assessed that emotions were high, and they whipped up a frenzy of Islamophobia previously unseen in most quarters. Hundreds of angry protesters, a number of them armed, screaming insults, holding, and waving Bibles, crosses, and placards attacking Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him showed up. A few of these people were locals, but there were those who came to attend from other states as well, in contrast to the local 800 Muslims Texans who came to the Seerah conference.
Here is what 800 Muslims who were forced to walk through the hatemongers demonstrating outside:
- “Did your father rape you last night?” a number of Muslim girls going into the convention center to attend Sound Vision’s event were asked by these protesters as they walked in.
- “Go back home and take Obama with you.”
- “You are not Americans. Don’t fly our flag.”
Facebook threats were plenty. See below screen shots of some.
In response, Muslims ignored Geller and Spencer’s bullies. They calmly walked past to participate in the great family event to Stand with the Prophet, in Love & Peace, against Hate & Terror.
Motorcyclists in support Geller and Spencer drove round and round some interfaith people peacefully protesting the hateful protesters in an act of intimidation. They were also ignored by the interfaith activists present.
Sound Vision is grateful to many for the success of this event, along with the fact that no one was hurt. These range from the organizer and volunteers who refused to cancel the program, to the Dallas Muslim community who stood by despite threats, and to families who went through all of that but refused to turn back from a program about the Prophet. We are also grateful to every law enforcement officer who protected our right to assemble peacefully and speak freely, despite Geller and Spencer’s campaign to ban our program.
Despite Pamela Geller’s demand to shut down our free speech, all of these individuals and groups defended and stood by us. They refused to succumb to her hate which could very easily have turned deadly.
A Muslim-organized event went off without a hitch and everyone was safe. Her event, on the other hand, led to the deaths of two people. Food for thought.
FOX News, ever sensationalism-hungry, decided to help Geller, Spencer, and company. Their slanted news coverage naturally tilted where we expected it to. The silver lining is all of this though was when President of Sound Vision, Imam Mujahid, appeared on the O’Reilly show. There he was able to defend Sound Vision’s program.
But the lesson for Sound Vision in all of this was that Muslims have now come into their own. We are more than capable, and have always been capable of, dealing with Islamophobes and hateful bigots like Geller, Spencer, and their crowd with dignity and self-respect. It is a powerful message that may not be obvious, but it is one we should be highlighting. It is also one that should give us hope and strength in the dark days ahead, as the hate and fear that is part of the Islamophobia machines seeks to destroy interfaith peace and harmony in America.
It is important for Muslims to know about Pamela Geller, Spenser & Co.