A Catholic bishop has denounced as “provocative and offensive” several billboards that a Muslim group slapped up in Australia’s largest city featuring slogans such as “Jesus: A Prophet of Islam.” The objectionable messages insult Christian doctrine and should be taken down, said Bishop Julian Porteous of the Archdiocese of Sydney.
The group MyPeace has rented out billboards in Sydney that carry one of four messages: “Jesus: A Prophet of Islam,” “Holy Qur’an: The Final Testament,” “Muhammad: Mercy to Mankind” and “Islam: Got Questions? Get Answers.”
On its website, MyPeace says its outreach campaign will expand soon to include advertisements on about 40 city buses, and it’s seeking donations to help pay for the ads.
Porteous criticized the campaign, insisting that Jesus is “more than a prophet. He is the Son of God. He is acclaimed lord and savior of humanity. This statement is a direct assault on Christian beliefs," the bishop said.
"In Australia, with its Christian heritage, a billboard carrying the statement `Jesus A prophet of Islam' is provocative and offensive to Christians,” Porteous said, according to the Australian Associated Press.
He urged MyPeace to take down the ads, which are displayed in prominent areas of Sydney.
The Anglican bishop of South Sydney, Rob Forsyth, told Fairfax news agency that he didn’t consider the billboards offensive but that it is “complete nonsense” to call Jesus a prophet of Islam.
MyPeace said its aim was to “address the many misconceptions on Islam” and educate Australians about the faith, not to antagonize Christians.
One of the billboards was vandalized the day after it went up, but MyPeace organizer Diaa Mohamed told Fairfax the campaign has received “overwhelmingly positive feedback from Christians, atheists, Muslims, everyday Australians.”
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