Controversial Bus Ads In San Francisco Spark Backlash

Tara Dodrill

A controversial bus ad campaign in San Francisco prompt backlash. The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) sponsored the bus ads which feature an Osama bin Laden and terroristic images. One of the campaign ads on Muni buses show the twin towers burning in the background.

The San Francisco bus ads include the tagline, "That's his jihad. What's yours?" The controversial bus ad text is reportedly a quote from an Islamic extremist. The American Freedom Defense Initiative recently beat an attempt by the NYC transit authority to prevent a similar ad campaign in subways.

The group has also reportedly run similar ad campaigns in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. San Francisco leaders have publicly condemned the jihad-related bus ads but have not tried to prevent them from being used. The $5,000 the American Freedom Defense Initiative gave to Muni will reportedly be donated to the Human Rights Commission. The funds will then be used to study discrimination against members of the Islamic community.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon feels the Osama bin Laden and jihad bus ads denigrate Muslim and Arab citizens. Gascon stated during an ABC News interview that the city of San Francisco is creating a counter campaign.

American Freedom Defense Initiative co-founder Pamela Geller does not feel the San Francisco bus ads indicate that all members of the Muslim community support the idea of jihad. The controversial ads are reportedly in response to a Council on American-Islamic Relations campaign.

In January, the council initiated a campaign that reportedly promoted the idea that the word jihad is a nonviolent term. Geller stated that more than 20,500 Islamic attacks have happened since the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The AFDI co-founder feels that jihad attacks are a serious problem and should be talked about.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative ads also depict scenes related to the Fort Hood shooting and the Times Square car bomber. One ad contains a quite from a Hamas leader that reads, "Killing Jews is worship that brings us closer to Allah." The San Francisco jihad bus ads will run for one month on Muni buses.

What do you think about the San Francisco bus ads?