One American woman makes a stand for tolerance and Islam

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SHAFAQNA – A non-Muslim woman in Florida has launched a campaign against an anti-Islam billboard in St. Augustine beach, Florida, according to media reports.

“It was disturbing to me,” says Becky Williams. “My daughter was in the back seat with me and my first thought was, ‘if that was the faith we followed, how would we explain that to her?”
Williams, who is not a Muslim, says this is not the message her community wants to send to those following the Islamic faith.

Therefore, she started an online petition. Since Saturday, it has gathered more than 2,000 signatures. Some of them were from as far away as India.

“I’m amazed at how many people have spoken out,” Williams said.

A sign, which reads St. John’s Outdoor Advertising, is on the bottom of the billboard. First Coast News tried reaching the company. But the phone number is no longer working and no one answered the door at the business’ address.

It’s also unclear who paid for the message on the billboard. Anas Benjelloun the Imam of the Islamic center in Saint Augustine said, “To see a billboard like that, it has a bad tone for the whole city.”

He and members of the Islamic Center of St. Augustine were very surprised to see the billboard in their own city. They say their religion is a religion of peace, love, and respect, but that the billboard promotes hatred.

However, he is touched by the woman who started the petition. “I haven’t met her and these are the kind of people I now in St. Augustine caring, loving people,” Benjelloun said. “To see it’s somebody not from the Muslim faith that started this, this truly shows the kind of people who live in St. Augustine.”

Meanwhile, Williams says she understands the person who paid for the billboard has freedom of speech, but she does too.

She said, “When you see something unfair happening, you have to stand up and do something about it, no matter how small the action.”

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