The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) is planning to launch several anti-Islam ads on New York buses starting next week. Critics of the ads claim they are anti-Islamic, while the AFDI insists they are only opposed to violence and authoritarianism in the name any religion.
The anti-Islam ads are targeted against ISIS, a Sunni jihadist group in the Middle East that has proclaimed itself as a caliphate. ISIS claims religious authority over all Muslims all over the world and strives to bring most of the Muslim world under its political control. It has been prominent in the news for attempting these actions in Iraq and Syria.
Pope Francis has clearly stated his opposition to the actions of ISIS, especially the murder of two American journalists. According to an earlier report from the Inquisitr, the Pope traveled to the Muslim country of Albania, where he told the people that violence cannot be justified by religion. “Let no one consider themselves to be the ‘armor’ of God while planning and carrying out acts of violence and oppression. May no one use religion as a pretext for actions against human dignity and against the fundamental rights of every man and woman, above all, the right to life and the right of everyone to religious freedom,” said the Pope.
The anti-Islam ads will feature graphic pictures and bold text to show Islam as a violent religion. “Our ads are designed to raise awareness about the need for Muslims in the US not just to denounce ISIS, but to teach young Muslims why this understanding of Islam is wrong and must be rejected,” blogger Pamela Geller wrote on her website. She said in another post that the campaign, “boldly tells truths that the U.S. government and the mainstream media seem determined to obfuscate.”
The New York bus transit system is widely used by a large crowd of people, so the anti-Islam ads will be seen by many. The ads will be placed on over 100 buses by next week. The ads will include a highly controversial photo of James Foley’s execution.
Opposition to these ads come from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who say that the anti-Islamic ads are deeply offensive and out of line. “This is her usual schtick: anti-Muslim bigotry,” CAIR Communications Director Hooper said, referring to Geller. “Basically what she does is go into a market and introduce the most inflammatory, defamatory remarks that she can possibly come up with, knowing that it will all give her free publicity. Then, if the [local transit authority] denies her, she sues and gets more publicity.”
If approved, AFDI’s ads may also appear on Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. public transport systems.
[Image via AFDI]