Sep 25 2014
Starting on Monday, New York City, the cosmopolitan capitol of the world will have one hundred of its buses and two of its subway stations plastered with hate-filled anti-Muslim ads. The ads were created by a non-profit group called the American Freedom Defense Initiative or AFDI which was co-founded in 2010 by blogger Pamela Geller. The AFDI will be paying New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority or MTA $100,000 to run the ads for four weeks.
The six ads, some of which sport images of Adolf Hitler and the man who beheaded James Foley, feature different anti-Islamic slogans including one which says, “Islamic Jew-Hatred: It’s in the Quran.”
Despite a massive outcry from the Muslim community, the MTA is claiming it has no recourse but to run the ads which are protected as free speech under the First Amendment. A ruling by a 1998 Federal Appeals Court found that the city’s subway and buses are considered to be a “designated public forum” and as such need to allow all forms of content.
While New York City and Washington DC have agreed to run the AFDI ads, Philadelphia’s transit authority also known as SEPTA has refused to display the ads and is now being sued by the AFDI.
Muslim groups fear that the ads will worsen hate crimes already being felt by Muslim Americans who have been dealing with the repercussions of media coverage of ISIS. There is a collective dejavu to the days following the attacks of September 11th.
GUEST: Shakeel Syed, Executive Director of the Islamic Shura Council and the Vice President of the board of the ACLU of Southern California
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