Muslims protest Koran use in rave ad
Seattle Times staff reporter
The promoter of an upcoming dance party apologized yesterday for publishing brochures emblazoned with Arabic passages taken from the Koran after Muslims protested at an entrance to Southcenter Mall in Tukwila.
"I'm sorry that we used it," said a disc jockey known as Adam J, who helped create the brochures for the rave next Saturday. "I feel bad, though it was an honest-to-God mistake."
Adam J, who said he is a partner in Trenchtown Productions, would not give his real name.
Worshippers were outraged at the association of the scriptures with the rave.
"This is a disgrace to Islam. The activities in raves are totally immoral," said Ali-Salaam Mahmoud, head of the Masjid As Salaam mosque in SeaTac.
The brochure's designer - who also declined to give his name, saying he feared retaliation - said he lifted the images from a history textbook.
"We had no idea what any of it meant," he said. "It looked good on there. It is a beautiful language. And we had desert and a camel in there. It was a theme."
The promoter refused a request by Mahmoud to destroy all 50,000 brochures, some of which were being distributed in two mall shops. Adam J said he had invested $7,000 in printing costs.
The Koran, a book Muslims believe contains the words of Allah, is so revered that before they even open a copy, the faithful wash their hands, mouth, nostrils and feet three times.
Before yesterday's protest, Mahmoud preached a fiery sermon to an overflow crowd of 400 people at the mosque, a converted pair of aging houses in SeaTac.
He urged the mostly immigrant group to defend the Koran in their new homeland and later vowed to prevent the rave from happening.
In recent years, Islamic scriptures or the name of Allah have been repeatedly misused - on a scantily clad woman in beer ads, on jeans, on T-shirts and in other media images, said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C.
In 1997, Nike recalled 38,000 pair of shoes because the word "Air" resembled Arabic script for "Allah."
Shakur Teezub of SeaTac, a worshipper at the mosque there, said he noticed the rave brochure Wednesday at Endless Innovations, a mall shop that sells decorative cell-phone covers.
At first, he said, he thought it was a Muslim publication, then was startled when he opened it.
Western Washington has a growing Islamic population, which Mahmoud estimated at 50,000. There are at least 14 mosques in the greater Seattle area.
Raves are all-night dances sometimes associated with the use of illegal drugs such as Ecstasy.
Next weekend's party, called "Phase I," is to include laser light shows, massage tables, fire dancers and stilt walkers, as well as four rooms of music.
Adam J said Trenchtown Productions wants to restore the focus on music and "PLUR" - peace, love, unity, respect.
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