Columbus, Ohio — A car dealership’s planned radio advertisement that declared “a jihad on the automotive market” has drawn sharp criticism for its content but will not be changed, the business said Saturday.
Several stations rejected the Dennis Mitsubishi spot, which says sales representatives wearing “burqas” — head-to-toe traditional dress for Islamic women — will sell vehicles that can “comfortably seat 12 jihadists in the back.”
“Our prices are lower than the evildoers’ every day. Just ask the pope!” the ad says. “Friday is fatwa Friday, with free rubber swords for the kiddies.” A fatwa is a religious edict.
Dealership president Keith Dennis said the ad does not disrespect any religion or culture. He said it was “fair game” to poke “a little fun at radical extremists.”
“It was our intention to craft something around some of the buzzwords of the day and give everyone a good chuckle and be a little bit of a tension reliever,” he said.
The Columbus chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations decried the ad as disrespectful.
“Using that as a promotional pitch when so many are dying from the criminal activity of suicide bombers, that’s not funny,” chapter president Asma Mobin-Uddin said. “I don’t think it’s appropriate when it causes real pain. It exploits or promotes misunderstanding in terms already misunderstood or misused.”
The ad, written and produced by the company, will begin airing next week, although he was uncertain of which radio stations had accepted the spot, Dennis said.
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