Religion

San Francisco Outraged Over ‘Racist’ Bus Ads, Denounces Anti-Islam Campaign

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
Anti-Islamic ads from the American Freedom Defense InitiativeAnti-Islamic ads from the American Freedom Defense Initiative

Anti-Islamic ads in San Francisco reading “Killing Jews is worship that brings us closer to Allah” and featuring images of Osama bin Laden, the Times Square bomber, and the alleged Fort Hood shooter have raised a public outcry. 

The ads have sparked a serious debate on the difference between the right to free speech and hate speech. Despite being condemned by city officials, ads from the conservative group American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) will appear on 10 buses in the Bay Area for the next month.

AFDI allegedly quoted the above statement from the militant Islamic group Hamas. Another ad reads a quote from Osama bin Laden on why he attacked on September 11th: “The first thing we are calling you to is Islam.”

The ad featuring the Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad says how jihad involving “weaponry” is an “obligation and duty in Islam on every Muslim.”

The group spent $10,000 on similar ads in the New York City subway in 2012, virtually all of which were vandalized shortly after being posted. An ad showed a picture of the World Trade Center burning on September 11 and included a quote from the Qu’ran as an indictment of Islam in the terrorist attack.

Often referred to as Islamophobic the AFDI was founded by New Yorker Pamela Geller, who runs the blog Atlas Shrugs and is the head of Stop Islamization of America.

In previous ad she ran it referred to enemies of Israel as "savages": “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

Regarding the new campaign, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said, “San Francisco is a city that celebrates its diversity and hateful speech and discrimination against our Arab and Muslim communities will never be tolerated.”

City officials were quick to denounce the ads as "racist." District Attorney George Gascon called the ads “offensive” and said they “serve no purpose than to denigrate our cities Arab and Muslim communities.”

The New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority changed its adversiting policy in September to show that the MTA does not endorse anything said in ads posted in subway stations and also prohibited ads the agency “reasonably foresees would imminently incite or provoke violence or other immediate breach of the peace.”

Similar ads have appeared in subway stations in Washington D.C., Chicago, and Portland, Ore.

The AFDI campaign called “Jihad Awareness raised about $1,200 of a $50,000 goal. Geller has long been an outspoken opponent of building mosques near ground zero.

Source: Daily Mail