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New York subway stations to display anti-jihad ad

An ad initially rejected in New York City for its "demeaning'' language about Islam is expected to appear at 10 subway stations next week.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Aaron Donovan told The New York Times that "our hands are tied.'' 

A Manhattan federal court judge ruled in July that the MTA violated the First Amendment rights of the ad's sponsor, The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), and must let the ad appear, NBCNewYork.com reported.


The ad states: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.'' It adds, "Support Israel. Defeat Jihad,'' in between two Stars of David.  

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The group also bought ad space in Washington D.C., where the transit authority there told the Times that it had "deferred" the ad’s placement "out of a concern for public safety, given current world events."

The group's ad appeared on public buses in San Francisco in August. The transit agency there, known as Muni, said it would donate the $3,400 ad revenue to the city's Human Rights Commission and place an ad next to AFDI's message to say "Muni doesn't support this message," local media reported at the time.

Golden Gate Bridge transit district, which provides bus and ferry service between San Francisco and suburbs to the north, rejected the ads at a Sept. 7 board meeting by adopting a policy banning religious and political ads.

Pamela Geller, executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, said in an email to the Times that that transit officials in Washington were "kowtowing to the threat of jihad terrorism."

Recent events in the Middle East have not given her pause "for a second" about posting the ads in New York, she told the Times. "I will never cower before violent intimidation and stop telling the truth because doing so is dangerous," Geller said. "Freedom must be vigorously defended."

"If someone commits violence, it is his responsibility and no one else’s," she added.

The Southern Poverty Law Center branded Geller "the anti-Muslim movement's most visible and flamboyant figurehead" and AFDI as a hate group.

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The Anti-Defamation League said in March that Geller "fuels and fosters anti-Muslim bigotry in society."

Muneer Awad, the executive director of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the Times the ads were an attempt to "define Muslims" through hate speech.

"It’s perfectly legal to be a bigot and to be a racist," he said. "We want to make sure there’s a counter-voice."

Donovan said the MTA might consider revising its ad policy at its board meeting next week.

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