Atheist billboards up being diplayed in Paterson

March 5, 2012 2:49:36 PM PST
At 33rd street and Broadway in Paterson, controversy is brewing over a billboard and an anti-religion message soon to be displayed there.

The sign will read in Arabic and English "God, you know it's a myth, and you have a choice."

The Islamic Center of Passaic County is just two blocks away.

"These communities are very, very insular, and the atheists in those communities as a result are extremely closeted," says Dave Silverman the president of American Atheists. "We are putting these billboards up to tell those atheists that we see them."

The president of American Atheists says a similar sign in Hebrew and English will go.

Up in the predominantly Jewish community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, despite the message, some religious leaders aren't bothered by it.

"People have the right to question everything, including whether God exists or not," believes Mohamed Elfilali of the Islamic Center of Passaic County.

The executive director of the Islamic Center of Passaic County says the billboard, just visible from the parking lot, is neither a threat to Islam nor to God.

"He has stood up to the scrutiny forever and this is an on-going question that has been posed thru-out history. And God has always prevailed," says Elfilali.

This isn't the first time American Atheists has put up an anti-religion billboard. A Christmas-themed sign stood near the Lincoln Tunnel back in 2010, and the group promises this won't be the last.

"The tapestry of atheism in America is beautiful and diverse. And we're going to be advertising to everybody in order to welcome everybody into the movement," says Silverman.

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