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.”
The long-running battle between a Tennessee Muslim community and its critics over a new mosque took a dramatic turn with a county judge's ruling that could bring construction to a halt.
"Everyone is really shocked, many people are crying about this," Imam Osama Bahloul, leader of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, said early Wednesday.
"We did exactly what other churches in the county did," he said. "We followed the same process that other churches did. Why did this happen? Some people feel like it is discrimination."
The judge, Chancellor Robert Corlew, ruled Tuesday that plans for the new mosque that had previously been approved by a local planning commission were now "void and of no effect."
He said the planning commission violated state law by not providing proper public notice. The ruling throws the date of the mosque's completion, scheduled for July, up in the air.
Rutherford County Attorney Jim Cope said Corlew did not address the issue of whether work on the mosque has to stop right away. He said county planners will discuss options and determine an appropriate course of action.
"I don't have answers at this point," Cope said.
Bahloul said construction will go on until the Islamic Center receives orders to stop.FULL STORY
The memorial for British victims of 9/11 stands in London's Grosvenor Square at the far end of a quiet park directly across from the U.S. Embassy.
There you can find the names of the 67 British victims who lost their lives in the attacks. A set of wooden pillars stands with these words carved above them: "Grief is the price we pay for love."
On Sunday, families of those victims gathered at Grosvenor Square. Prince Charles attended with his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. Prime Minister David Cameron also came. They laid wreaths at the memorial and later took the time to speak with the families over scones and finger sandwiches. At the memorial, a white rose was laid for each of the 67 British victims.
The ceremony was marred somewhat by two competing protests. Muslims Against Crusades, the radical Islamic group led by Anjem Choudary, arrived shortly before the ceremony full of fiery speeches. There were fewer than 100 with him but their chants of "USA you will pay!" could still be heard over the music that played as families began arriving.
Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage on the fallout from Rep. Anthony Weiner's confession.
Today's programming highlights...
9:00 am ET - Casey Anthony trial - Prosecutors are expected to wrap up their case today in the trial of Casey Anthony, the Florida woman accused of killing her young daughter.
After days of protest and finger-pointing, a controversial hearing on so-called "Muslim radicalization" begins on Capitol Hill. CNN.com Live is there for gavel-to-gavel coverage of the event.
Today's programming highlights...
9:30 am ET - 'Muslim radicalization' hearing - Rep. Peter King, the New York Republican who called this hearing, calls it a serious look at the extent of "radicalization" in the American Muslim community. Critics say it's McCarthyism with a new target. Following the hearing, Rep. King will discuss the day's events with reporters.
The macho James Bond star dons a dress, high heels and a long blond wig in a public awareness video released for International Women’s Day, Britain’s Guardian news website reported on Monday.
The short film, made by artist and director Sam Taylor-Woods, has a voice-over by Dame Judi Dench, who plays Bond’s boss, M, in the movies. "We're equals, aren't we, 007?" asks Dench’s voice. "Yet it is 2011 and a man is still likely to earn more money than a woman, even one doing the same job." Dench continues to list discrepancies between the sexes in income, salary and career advancement, while Craig says not a word. He disappears briefly and returns in drag, looking uncomfortable. “So, are we equals?” Dench asks again. “Until the answer is yes, we must never stop asking.”
The Lebanon-born Maronite Christian author and activist “has become one of the most visible personalities on a circuit of self-appointed terrorism detectors who warn that Muslims pose an enormous danger within United States borders,” The New York Times reports.
Gabriel heads a group called ACT! For America which insists that Islamic militants have infiltrated the United States with the ultimate goal of imposing Sharia law throughout the world. Among her target audiences on the lecture circuit: Republicans, defenders of Israel, Christian conservatives and the Tea Party. Gabriel is scheduled to appear on CNN’s “In the Arena” tonight at 8 ET. “I lost Lebanon, my country of birth, to radical Islam,” she told the Times in an e-mail. “I do not want to lose my adopted country America.”
A week ago, the Tony-winning director of “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” told audiences at the 2011 TED conference that she and her production company were “in the crucible and the fire of transformation” due to the $65 million production’s problems. Today’s New York Times reports that the producers are now in negotiations with Taymor that could end her involvement in the troubled Broadway show.
Accidents, alleged safety violations and critics’ backlash have marred the production, which has seen its official opening delayed five times already. Still, the musical’s previews bring in a reported $1 million in weekly ticket sales. Taymor told TED audiences that the show is trying to do what cannot be done in the two dimensions that are television or film. “Anyone who creates knows when it’s not quite there,” Taymor said. “Where it hasn’t quite become the phoenix or the burnt char. And I am right there.”
Libya - Supporters of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi continue to battle anti-Gadhafi forces throughout the country. The unrest has been going on for weeks and is affecting oil prices worldwide as gas prices have spiked in recent weeks. Check out CNN's reporting around Libya, city by city. On Monday, air strikes continued to target the opposition-controlled oil town of Ras Lanuf as Gadhafi supporters tried to take back the city. CNN correspondent Ben Wedeman was just outside Ras Lanuf and heard someone say, "We'll capture [Gadhafi], put him on top of this car and drive all around Libya. Every Libyan will get one shot [at the leader]." Wedeman was one of the first journalists inside the country when the protests began, and he reports on who will be fighting in the conflict.
CNN's Nic Robertson reports that fighting is getting closer to the Libyan capital of Tripoli. Also Monday, as several families in Ras Lanuf fled for cover, Gadhafi's forces made headway in the city of Bin Jawad, which was hotly fought over during the weekend. Anti-government protesters have been rallying for weeks in the hopes that Gadhafi, who has ruled the country for 42 years, will leave power. Similar uprisings occurred earlier this year in Egypt and Tunisia, and other protests have raged throughout the Middle East and North Africa as demonstrators have called for changes in leadership and power structures in their countries. What's next in Libya? Do you have a story that relates to the country? Are you there? Send an iReport.
Hearings on radical Islam - Over the weekend, protesters demonstrated in New York ahead of congressional hearings on radical Islam scheduled for this week. Other critics of the hearings include music mogul Russell Simmons. The topic is sure to remain hot all week as CNN covers every angle of the debate. Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, called the for hearings on what is being called "the radicalization of American Muslims." Critics say the hearings would unfairly target Islam and could stoke fear and fuel violence against Muslims. King and Rep. Keith Ellison, who is the first Muslim elected to Congress, talked about the reasons for the hearings on CNN on Sunday with Candy Crowley.
Freedom Project begins - CNN has launched its Freedom Project, a first-of-its-kind global effort to draw attention to and end all forms of slavery around the world, including in the United States. See what the project is about, and read the first story in the series. It's about a group of boys from Zambia who were trafficked into the U.S. to make money for a faith-based organization. The boys saw little profit for their work and were not given the education or school in their home country that they were promised.
A cartoonist for Seattle Weekly in Washington state is in hiding after she received death threats for mocking the Prophet Mohammed five months ago, the newspaper reported.
The alternative weekly’s editor in chief reported this week that artist Molly Norris is “going ghost” on the advice of FBI security specialists. She will be moving and changing her name, Mark Fefer wrote.
“You may have noticed that Molly Norris’ comic is not in the paper this week. That’s because there is no more Molly,” he said. “She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program – except, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab.”
Norris’ hasty exodus stems from an April controversy in which the creators of “South Park” saw their 201st episode censored over its inclusion of Mohammed as a character. Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker received death threats because their 200th episode featured the Muslim prophet in a bear suit.
Nine Septembers have come and gone and yet, the many days that separate America now from a chilling day in its history did not dull remembrance Saturday.
Once again, the nation paused in silence to mark the times when hijacked jets crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and nearly 3,000 lives were lost in a matter of minutes.
But this year, a national debate over a proposed Islamic center near ground zero hovered over the day's heart-stopping sorrow, and the president once again pleaded for the tolerance that has come to define America. Rallies in favor of and against the center were held later in the day.
Controversial Florida pastor Terry Jones told NBC's "Today" show Saturday he's decided to cancel the Quran-burning event to have been held at 6 p.m.
"I can absolutely guarantee that there will never be a Quran burning at our church," Jones told NBC. "We will definitely not burn the Quran."
Earlier Friday, Jones gave mixed messages about whether he intended to carry out his plans, which have sparked international controversy and protests in the Muslim world. U.S. military leaders said the event would imperil the lives of troops abroad.
President Obama said Friday that the idea that "we would burn the sacred texts of someone else's religion is contrary to what this country stands for."
The pastor at a Florida church that planned to burn copies of the Quran added to confusion Friday over whether he intends to go ahead with the controversial event.
The Rev. Terry Jones told CBS' "The Early Show" that "we have called the event off." Soon afterward, however, he told reporters in Florida the burning is still being contemplated.
"We are seriously, seriously, seriously considering not burning the Qurans. That is absolutely right," Jones said.
Challenged by a reporter, Jones then said, "Well, we are hoping that we can come to a conclusion."
"Are you or aren't you?" a reporter asked, to which Jones replied, "We're actually not prepared to answer that right now."