Activist Pamela Gellar is suing the New York City transit agency for refusing to place her anti-Jihadist ad on the city's buses and at subway entrances, New York Magazine reports
On Friday, Gellar's group, American Freedom Defense Initiative, announced a $100,000 campaign satirizing the Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) "My Jihad"
campaign. The CAIR ads showed jihad as a personal spiritual striving for perfection rather than the militant use extremists uses.
Though "My Jihad" ads ran in several major cities including Chicago and Washington, it did not run in New York. The campaign was targeted at the Islamic State (ISIS) and other Muslim extremist groups that CAIR says have hijacked the term.
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According to New York Magazine, Gellar's ads include such sayings as "Islamic Jew-hatred: It's in the Quran." Another shows an image of American journalist James Foley, who recently was beheaded by ISIS, with the caption, "Yesterday's moderate is today's headline."
Gellar says she is not anti-Islam.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it is required because of First Amendment rights to run the ads, but it rejected one it said violated its "viewpoint-neutral" rules. That ad read, "Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah — that's his Jihad. What's yours?"
"The MTA concluded it was reasonably foreseeable that displaying the advertisement would imminently incite or provoke violence or other immediate breach of the peace, and so harm, disrupt, or interfere with safe, efficient, and orderly transportation operations," an MTA statement read. "Under the MTA's viewpoint-neutral advertising standards, the agency can prohibit advertisements that violate that standard."
"The ... likely interpretation of AFDI’s ‘Killing Jews’ ad by most people would be that it urges Muslims to kill or attack Jews as a religious obligation," MTA official Raymond Diaz wrote.
Gellar told The New York Times
she plans to sue this week.
"They’re wrong," she told the Times. “And when they’re wrong, they make it easy.”
AFDI has successfully sued the MTA in the past over a rejected ad. As a result of that lawsuit, the MTA said the rejection of the current ad was not based on viewpoint or whether the viewpoint might be thought to be controversial.
Mayor Bill de Blasio told the New York Daily News
the ads are "outrageous, inflammatory and wrong," and they have "no place in New York City, or anywhere."
Gellar said de Blasio should have "bigger fish to fry" with New York being the "softest terror target."
"Let him start talking tough against the jihadists, and not those defending freedom," Gellar said.
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