Muslims Criticize Portrayal Of "Jesus" In TV Ad

Christ shown gambling with devil in sports bar on TV Guide Channel

Posted: 10 Shawwal 1423, 15 December 2002

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/11/02) - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today criticized as "tasteless and insensitive" a television commercial promoting professional wrestling that shows "Jesus" gambling with the devil in a sports bar.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the ad, currently airing on the TV Guide Channel, shows a blond man dressed in white and illuminated by a shaft of light discussing the upcoming World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) "Armageddon" pay-per-view event with a devil-like figure. The "devil" says, "We've been hyping this [Armageddon] for two millennia." At the end of the commercial, he asks the "Jesus" figure, "Do you want to go double or nothing on the Saints?"

"This kind of tasteless and insensitive portrayal of Jesus, peace be upon him, is an insult to the deeply-felt beliefs of Muslim and Christian Americans. We ask that TV Guide Channel and the WWE withdraw the commercial and apologize to viewers," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. Awad added that Muslims revere Jesus as a prophet of God and called on Christian leaders to join in his defense.

Awad quoted a verse from the Qur'an, Islam's revealed text, which states: "Behold! The angels said 'O Mary! God giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to God.'" (Chapter 3, Verse 45)

In another verse, the Qur'an states: "Say ye: 'We believe in God and the revelation given to us and to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and it is unto Him that we surrender ourselves.'" (Chapter 2, Verse 136)

He also quoted the Prophet Muhammad who said: "Both in this world and in the Hereafter, I am the nearest of all people to Jesus, the son of Mary. The prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Hadith 652)