Two Ad Campaigns: One Urging Hate, the Other Tolerance

Article excerpt

Anti-Muslim ads which ran in New York subways and San Francisco's BART trains and buses are coming to Washington, DC's Metro system. The ads read: "In Any War Between the Civilized Man and the Savage, Support the Civilized Man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad." The Star of David illustrates the ads, which New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) refused to approve earlier this year, until a federal court, citing the First Amendment, ruled that the MTA had to run the ads.

The ads come just as the international backlash provoked by the film "Innocence of Muslims," mocking the Prophet Muhammad, dies down. The film supposedly was financed by a former gas station owner, Basseley Nakoula, an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian, who served time for check fraud and is now in jail again for violating the terms of his probation. Just who really bankrolled the film is still under investigation (see story p. 13).

The ad campaign, the latest in a series of efforts to incite hatred for Islam and support for Israel, was created and funded by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), founded by Pamela Geller of the group Stop Islamization of America. Much to everyone's surprise, according to DC activist Mai Abdul Rahman, Geller's anti-Muslim ads have brought "the best of our faith and non-faith communities together, whether in San Francisco, NY or here in DC."

In response to a letter from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the Asian Law Caucus and other organizations, San Francisco's MTA agreed to donate all proceeds from the Geller advertisement to educational activities of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and SF transport put out a strongly worded disclaimer that lays out their position. …