Last year, San Francisco allowed controversial signs to be displayed that were clearly anti-Muslim. The Inquisitr reported on the signs — showcasing Osama Bin Laden along with the World Trade Center Towers burning in the background — and associating said images with Islam. Needless to say, such a sign displayed on the sides of public transportation buses brought about backlash.
Now, a updated version of the signs are making a return. However, the location is different as they will now be displayed in New York City.
According to Daily Mail, the American Freedom Defense Initiative — a pro-Israel advocacy group co-founded by Pamela Geller and known to publicly criticize Islam — is displaying brand new signs on the sides of buses of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The decision to allow them to be shown was made public on Tuesday, April 21, 2015, when Judge John Koeltl said its speech — in which it says “Killing Jews is worship” – is protected under the First Amendment.
The reason why John Koeltl even had to step in on such a situation is because MTA didn’t want the signs displayed in the first place. MTA cited problems that may arise like increased violence towards Jews. However, Koeltl states that MTA “underestimate the tolerant quality of New Yorkers and overestimate the potential impact of these fleeting advertisements. It strains credulity to believe that New Yorkers would be incited to violence by ads that did not incite residents of Chicago and San Francisco.”
Right now, John Koeltl is giving MTA a month to come up with an appeal, in which they may have if they utilize the stance that Bill de Blasio, the mayor of NYC, has towards the anti-Muslim posters. Previously, de Blasio has stated “these anti-Islamic ads are outrageous, inflammatory and wrong, and have no place in New York City, or anywhere.” Even his spokeswoman, Monica Klein, made a statement on his behalf.
“These hateful messages serve only to divide and stigmatize when we should be coming together as one city. While those behind these ads only display their irresponsible intolerance, the rest of us who may be forced to view them can take comfort in the knowledge that we share a better, loftier and nobler view of humanity.”
MTA may also utilize the fact that Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) identifies the American Freedom Defense Initiative and its co-founder, Pamela Geller, as “Anti-Muslim extremists,” as reported by RYOT. Nevertheless, if MTA provides no appeal after the month is up, they will have to run the signs as protected by the First Amendment.
[Images via Pamela Geller’s Twitter]