A group put a billboard with a very simple message up recently on the 294 interstate just outside Chicago
"Hey ISIS, YOU SUCK!!! From: #ActualMuslims," the billboard read.
The billboard was erected by Sound Vision, a Chicago based non-profit organization. Its mission is "to produce content that helps build bridges of understanding among Muslims and their neighbors, with emphasis on youth."
Muslims have been creatively raising their voices to battle ISIS and to help educate the public against Islamophobic stereotypes, and this move was no exception. By signing off the billboard with #ActualMuslims, Sound Vision is implying that ISIS members are not rather the true Muslims and are not following Islam. On the top right of the billboard, there is a verse from the Qur'an—"Life is Sacred"—which goes against the ISIS mentality of beheading innocent people who oppose their ideology.
It's depressing that Muslims even feel the need to do something like this, but there are many people who link all Muslims with ISIS, no matter how many times the vast majority of Muslims emphasize how repulsive they find the group—which mostly enslaves, terrorizes and kills other Muslims.
And the message seems to be effective. Tweeps in and outside of Chicago are talking about the billboard.
Sound Vision also has downloadable brochures that address the fact that ISIS opposes Islamic teachings. And it addresses questions like "Does ISIS represent Islam as lived by the Prophet Muhammad?" You can find the answer here. Below is a chart that the group made outlining more differences between ISIS and the true words of Islam.
Alaa Basatneh is a human-rights activist and a writer at Fusion focusing on the Arab world. She is the protagonist of the 2013 documentary "#ChicagoGirl."