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. Philip

    Usama Bin Laden and his henchmen (who were paid 50 million dollars by Bush and Blair to repel invading Soviets who wanted Afghanistans pipelines for their very own) fled into Pakistan as Bush troops took-out the last two remaining obstacles to Bush's Carlyle group controlling the TAPI: the government and laws of Afghanistan, and employees of the Bridas corporation...who were either shot on the job as suspected terrorists, or sent to GITMO where they remain.

    October 9, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. saywhat

    @ Philip.
    No wonder both Iraq and Afghanistan were full fledged invasions for occupation. Though Iraqis or Afghans had nothing to do with 9/11, ditto for Pakistanis. Tens of thousands of these people dead and counting.

    October 9, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. saywhat

    Also read Angela Davis's article " Jim Crow and the Palestinians" in today's 'Counter Punch'. It will be of interest to all thinking Americans in the back drop of these un-American ads.

    October 9, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • RFBJR

      Why would I want to read an article written by a card carrying communist?

      October 10, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. Philip

    Huh. My test comment posted. 🙂 Try again @saywhat. he he

    October 9, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Donnie

    "'to affirm the truth about the barbaric jihad against free people' and to affirm free speech."

    Well yes. They are ads and they have the right to put them up. Also, while it's a stretch to say "jihad" is barbaric, it's not hate speech. The ads don't use say Muslims or Islam which would of course be pretty bad. However, while not hate speech, the organization responsible has to understand people are going to interpret these posters as Muslims are barbaric. Not Muslims mind you, but the ignorant people of society and this could in turn lead to violence against the Muslim community. So I hope the other organization runs counter ads. If anything, the ads shouldn't be removed, but I would too be concerned if I was a Muslim.

    October 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. saywhat

    Yup@Philip my couple lines went thru too.

    October 9, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Philip

    So, if anti-Jihad ads are "un American", does that make America pro jihad?

    October 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Noshariaever

      America does not like jihad, so jihad is un-american.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. saywhat

    Very appropriate. Thanks for coming out with these comments we need more like these.
    And yes orgs like Rabbis for Human Rights and Christian org Sojourners are planning counter ads.

    October 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. saywhat


    un-American in the sense that they target one whole community very cleverly and are geared to incite and spread hate. We have our own brand of 'Jihad' being prosecuted in Afghanistan, to be candid.
    The Evangelical thought process has been seeping into the military, inscriptions on arms and bibles galore and such. Rush Limbaugh lecturing on the Armed Forces radio. Can you imagine.

    October 9, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. saywhat

    If one reads, in Islamic traditions 'Jihad' translates into 'struggle' and that can be against oppression, illiteracy, poverty etc. An armed struggle or war is only allowed when in a state a legitimate head of state, head of govt or ruler (one who has the authority) declares war. Then it becomes obligatory.
    In that sense whenever or wherever a country declares war it carries the same connotation.

    October 9, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      If jihad "may" be against poverty, then why do Saudis always fulfill their "alms for the poor" tenet of Islam requirement funding psycho madrassases instead of alleviating Palestinian suffering? Because, Al Qaeda Minister of Propaganda, you once more spread falsehoods. Jihad is conducted pursuant to a fatwah or religious opinion issued by competent authority like a mullah or sheik. "An armed struggle is only conducted when a state declares war"? Al Qaeda is transnational with no state. And nobody declares war anymore. That's residual from the Napoleonic "Might makes right" era of war-as-fact which was superseded by the 1949 UN charter. Readers, ignore saywhat. He intentionally spreads falsehoods with intent to deceive the unsophisticated.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • doughnuts

      Islamic scholars have been saying these "peaceful" interpretations of "jihad" were a bunch of crap for the past 600 years.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. saywhat

    Enough already. Have a good evening @Philip. Where are our other regulars today?

    October 9, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Philip

    America does not like jihad. Therefore, anti-jihad is American. Right?

    October 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Citizen

      Funny enough, the greater jihad, or struggle to be the best person one can be, is very similar to the US military slogan "Be all that you can be." Does the USA hate that as well? You're over-generalizing when you say the USA hates jihad. Which jihad? The lesser?

      October 10, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Philip

    Jihad is decalred by a muslim religious leader when one of their homelands are threated by invading infidels.
    How this differs from christian leaders is beyond me.
    Would the US response to 9/11 be different if the US were led by muslims rather of christians? If yes, pls. explain.

    October 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • doughnuts

      The United States is not a Christian nation.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Philip

    Americans would "jihad" if invaded and occupied by foreigners. Well, some Americans, rather. I get the feeling that most of US would roll-over as if led by Vichy French. Most frenchmen sided with the invading/occupying Nazis, though there was a smallish French resistance. Nazis and Vichy french called them "terrorists".

    October 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Philip

    Political correctness is not willful spreading of HIV nor is it a nationwide obesity epidemic spreading to our children and threatening our healthcare sytem.
    Political correctness is not the new image of the American. Foreigners who don't read can still see what we look like now compared to a few years ago.
    You ARE what you eat/consume. You might or might not be what you say/boast..

    October 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
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