Valpak is direct mail marketing and in the stack of coupons this week is a promotion for understanding that could be misunderstood.
It’s an explanation of Islam purchased by the Islamic Center of Omaha. Center spokesman Chandrajeet Padhy said, “It’s to eliminate any misconception that people might have about Islam mostly through the media. This will be an incentive to increase peace and awareness.”
On the front of the insert is a definition of Islamic terms like Jihad. It states Jihad does not mean holy war. On the other side is a brief explanation of Islam. The flier contains nothing offensive but is merely informative.
The promotion is among coupons for dozens of metro businesses and will be mailed to 100,000 homes in the greater Omaha area.
Valpak owner Scott Farkas is Jewish but allowed the Islamic Center of Omaha to buy an insert like any other Omaha business or church.
Farkas said, “A number of people have said are you ready for the backlash. I see us as the messenger. There is nothing that can be deemed offensive about this.”
Before accepting the Islamic Center’s check for $2,300, Farkas showed the flier to Rabbi Aryeh Azriel of Temple Israel in Omaha. The Rabbi called the insert a brilliant idea to promote religious understanding and tolerance.