An anti-jihad ad that was originally rejected in New York City due to “demeaning” language about Islam will now appear in 10 subway stations next week, as Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials tell the New York Times that “our hands are tied,” regarding display of the ad.
The controversial ad reads: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man,” adding, “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad,” set between two Stars of David. The ad’s sponsor, The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) also purchased ad space in Washington DC, though the transit authority there “deferred” reportedly “out of a concern for public safety, given current world events.”
According to NBC New York, a Manhattan federal court judge ruled in July that the MTA violated the First Amendment rights of the ad’s sponsor and must let the ad appear.
In the ad’s defense, Pamela Geller, executive director of the AFDI, said that transit officials were “kowtowing to the threat of jihad terrorism,” adding that recent anti-US demonstrations in the Middle East haven’t caused her to hesitate “for a second.”
“I will never cower before violent intimidation and stop telling the truth because doing so is dangerous,” Geller said. “Freedom must be vigorously defended,” adding, “If someone commits violence, it is his responsibility and no one else’s.”
Several groups have denounced Geller. The Southern Poverty Law Center has branded the AFDI a hate group, and the Anti-Defamation League has said that Geller “fuels and fosters anti-Muslim bigotry in society.”
“It’s perfectly legal to be a bigot and to be a racist,” said Muneer Awad, the executive director of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “We want to make sure there’s a counter-voice.”
Do you think that the New York anti-jihad subway ad is bigoted?