Dubai, 11th April - A billboard advertisement claiming that May 21, 2011 will be the "judgment day" according to the Bible, and which shocked many and dismayed others, will be removed, a senior official said on Sunday.
The large billboards put up on various busy roads of Dubai such as Al Garhoud and Al Jaffiliya, carries the sentence "the great and terrible day, who shall be able to stand". Marie Sheahan, Media Representative of Family Radio, who is campaigning to put up this advertisement about judgment day, told Gulf News that she and her husband are in town from the United States to advertise and "warn people about it, regardless of nationality, religion or anything else because this will affect everybody". Sheahan said the message has been softened for Muslim countries due to sensitivity.
"We contacted many billboard companies here regarding this advertisement, but they said they did not want to deal with it because it was sensitive. Then, we found one company, Emirates Neon Group (ENG) who agreed and helped us put up the advertisement after getting the permission. We felt it was good to advertise on billboards," she claimed. According to the web address mentioned on the advertisement, "This message is from the Bible speaking of Judgment Day where the believers are called up into heaven, a worldwide earthquake occurs and Judgment of the unsaved begins."
About how they [Family Radio] came to know that May 21 is the ‘judgement day', Sheahan said: "Well, it is hidden in the Bible, and not many people can realise it. Lots of research have gone into it. Therefore, we know it is 40 days away. We are doing this because in the Bible, we are commanded to warn people."
Mona Khamis Ebrahim, head of the Advertising Section of Dubai Municipality Planning Department, acknowledged the presence of the advertisement but said: "The municipality will remove these advertisements as soon as possible. This was an unintentional mistake, especially [in view of the fact] that the section receives and licenses thousands of advertisements daily. Anything in contradiction with the Islamic religion is not permitted to be advertised."
Commenting on the claims made by the organisation, a pastor from a church in Dubai, who did not wish to be named, said: "We cannot pinpoint the final day. Only God knows it". Kasheef Abu bakr, a Dubai resident, said: "Announcements like this should not be allowed by the Municipality, and companies flouting the law should be heavily fined. The advert is absurd, outrageous and ridiculous."
Family Radio's official name is Family Stations, Inc. It is a non-profit corporation headquartered in Oakland, California. It began in 1958 with the express purpose of sending the Christian Gospel into the world. It broadcasts in more than 30 of the major languages of the world so that as many people as possible can hear the true Gospel in their own language. Family Radio has an intense desire to be altogether faithful to the teachings of the Bible, both in the conduct of its employees and in the Biblical messages it sends into the world.