Fri, Dec 22, 2006 - Page 7 News List

Arabic ad campaign sparks terror scare in Virginian community


The small beige signs bearing swirling, black Arabic script appear all over town on buses and at colleges.

One panicked bus rider wondered if they were secret messages from terrorists. Should the FBI be contacted? What do they mean?

Actual translation: "Paper or plastic?" -- a reference to which type of bag a shopper prefers at the grocery store.

The signs are part of a campaign by the Virginia Interfaith Center, aimed at dispelling some of the public's fears about the Muslim community. Organizers hope to eventually expand the program statewide.

The signs were placed in all 170 Greater Richmond Transit Company buses on Nov. 27 and many buses will continue to display them at least through the end of next month. The signs, designed by Martin Agency, have also been posted at the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Besides the "paper or plastic" sign, there are two others -- one which is the Arabic version of the I'm a Little Tea Pot rhyme.

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