Anti-jihad ads make their way to D.C. subways
"Defeat Jihad" ads like the one shown here in New York will now be displayed in Washington.
October 8th, 2012
01:47 PM ET

Anti-jihad ads make their way to D.C. subways

An anti-jihad ad that has caused a stir in other cities now has another destination for its message: the subways of Washington.

The ad by the American Freedom Defense Initiative states, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

Jihad - Arabic for "struggle" - is considered a religious duty for Muslims, although there are both benign and militant interpretations of what it means.

Last month, the American Freedom Defense Initiative posted the ads in the subways of New York and San Francisco.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations posted a response ad that reads, “Help stop bigotry against our Muslim neighbors.” Another one reads, “Support peace in word and deed.”

And the council is ready to try to counter the new ads in the nation's capital.

The ads were initially blocked, but on Friday, U.S. District Judge Mary Collyer ruled that the D.C. transit system must allow the advertisements because of free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.

"We don't think it's controversial," said Pamela Geller, the executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative. "It's truth. Telling the truth now is equated with 'hate' and 'bigotry' in an attempt to silence and demonize the truth-tellers. That makes my ads all the more important.”

According to Geller, the American Freedom Defense Initiative ads have two missions: “to affirm the truth about the barbaric jihad against free people” and to affirm free speech.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is working with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and Jewish Voice for Peace, knows it can’t get the ads removed. Instead, the groups want the D.C. transit officials to help reduce the negative impact of the posters.

“With respect to your response in this matter, it is not our desire that (the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority) disallow advertisements that contain any political speech,” the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a statement. “I do believe there are measures WMATA can take to mitigate the affect hate speech has on the community.”

These measures include working with organizations representing affected Muslim and Arab communities, placing disclaimers to show that the transit authority does not support the views of the ads, and providing free space for advertisements focused on promoting, understanding and tolerance, the Islamic group says.

More than likely, the free ad space will be used for the Council on American-Islamic Relations' ads against the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s message.

“The counter-ads are fine from a free speech standpoint,” Geller said. “But where were these groups countering ‘hate’ when the Fogel family was murdered in Israel? Or when the Chabad house was targeted for a bloody jihad attack in Mumbai? Or when Christians are persecuted on an increasingly frequent and violent basis in Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia and elsewhere?”

Just like the Washington transit authority, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority had to display the American Freedom Defense Initiative ads because of a court ruling, despite refusing to allow the ads a year ago.

Although the ads cannot be removed, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Muneer Awad, hopes the MTA will also help reduce the effect of the ads in the city.

"We're trying to make sure MTA has policies to discourage hate speech," Awad said. “These hate ads are part of a larger problem.”

The MTA is considering amending its advertising policies to prohibit all noncommercial advertisements, spokesman Aaron Donovan said.

“If they countenance the outlawing of my ads, they should be careful: One day, they may wish to say something that offends the political or media elites, and they'll wish they had stuck up for my freedom of speech,” Geller said.

soundoff (223 Responses)
  1. Anechoic

    Should Israel and their supporters roll over and play dead just to suit misguided notions of political correctness? That seems to be what many here are claiming.

    WMATA charges a pro-Israel group for ad space, but gives free ad space to those opposed to the Jewish state. Talk about anti-Semitism! They then label anti-terrorist exhortations "hate speech". Is US condemnation of the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden also hate speech?

    WMATA and their supporters don't make any more sense than the Westboro Baptist Church and the jihadists.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. cecelia tidd (CC35)

    In the near future the scripture at Psalms 37:34 will be fulfilled: "Hope in God and keep his way, and he will exalt you to take possession of the earth. When the wicked ones are cut off, you will see it."

    October 10, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Jesse Pinkman

    Muslims will build Terminators in 2022 to terminate all infidels...

    October 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Jude

    The people responsible for these signs are vile!

    October 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. cecelia tidd (CC35)

    "And this good news of the kingdom**will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." (***the heavenly government)

    October 10, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Brendan

    The "American Freedom Defense Initiative" is a shill "organization" that has nothing to with Americans, our freedom, or the defense of either.

    It should change its name to what it really stands for – "Israel At All Costs" – because that's what such patently offensive speech really intends.

    October 11, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Andreea

    Zionist jerks!

    October 13, 2012 at 7:30 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Iraqi

    The U.S. supported Bin Laden to establish Al-Qaeda, the U.S. killed hundreds of thousands in Iraq

    March 24, 2013 at 4:07 am | Report abuse | Reply
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