A woman fans herself while waiting for a subway in New York. Photo is not related to the accident. (Photo : Reuters)
Following days of civil unrest around the world after an inflammatory video insulting Islamic Prophet Muhammad went viral, New Yorkers will come across a new advertisement in the subway soon that further insults Muslims, the New York Times reported.
The ad, which was originally rejected by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), reads, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.” It is then followed by “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad,” jammed between two Stars of David.
According to the NY Times, the MTA lost a federal court ruling on First Amendment grounds and announced on Tuesday that the ads would appear next week at 10 subway stations around New York City. Aaron Donovan, a spokesperson for the MTA, told the Times, “Our hands are tied.”
Judge Paul A. Engelmayer of Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled in July that the MTA had violated the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s First Amendment rights in denying the ad. The New York Times reported that the authority cited the ad’s “demeaning” language when it rejected the ad. The MTA appealed the July ruling but was only given two weeks to revise its ad policy or seek a further stay in appellate court.
The American Freedom Defense Initiative, which previously advertised “It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism” ads at Metro-North Railroad stations, has also purchased ad space in Washington D.C. Transit authorities there, however, have “deferred” the ad’s placement “out of a concern for public safety, given current world events,” the New York Times reported.
The group’s executive director, Pamela Geller, told the Times that transit authorities in Washington were “kowtowing to the threat of jihad terrorism.” She added, “I will never cower before violent intimidation, and stop telling the truth because doing so is dangerous. Freedom must be vigorously defended.”
Geller also added, “If someone commits violence, it is his responsibility and no one else’s,” the New York Times said.
The executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Muneer Awad, criticized the ads and asked that the MTA redirect funds from the ads to the Human Rights Commission. Awad told the New York Times, “It’s perfectly legal to be a bigot and to be a racist. We want to make sure there’s a counter-voice.”