A billboard up this month in Dallas is designed to encourage dialogue on the fundamental teachings of Islam.
The billboard on Interstate 45, southeast of downtown Dallas, features the message: "Find Jesus in the Qur'an, Muhammad in the Bible."
"The Muslim Jesus" campaign was launched by a Chicago-based group called GainPeace. The group does community outreach for the Islamic Circle of North America. Sabeel Ahmed is the executive director of GainPeace.
"Our main purpose is to build bridges, and to erase the misconceptions," Ahmed said. "We want to educate our fellow Americans, giving them an opportunity to look into Islam, to read about Islam through our website and billboards."
The goal of the billboard is to let the public know that Jesus is not only a part of Christianity, he is also a part of Islam. Ahmed said people in other faith traditions may have the misconception that Muslims don't believe in Jesus and the Virgin Mary. They want to address that.
"Jesus is mentioned with love and respect and honor more than 25 times in the Quran," Ahmed said. "Mary the mother of Jesus is likewise mentioned 32 times in the Quran."
The same billboard, designed to spark dialogue, is on display in Houston, Chicago and Atlanta. It also says "Free Qur'an, discuss Islam," inviting people to call 1-800-662-ISLAM.
Ahmed said these billboard campaigns have brought in thousands of calls over the years.
"We have received close to 60,000 calls in the last 10 years," he said. "People call us, they ask us questions, and we also have a service where we send them a free copy of the Quran, either in English or in Spanish."
Ahmed said he hopes the billboard campaign will help people realize that Islam stands for justice and peace.