Muslim 'savages' advert may provoke protestors further
on 21/09/2012 13:18:17
Pamela Geller, who once headed a campaign against an Islamic centre near the September 11, 2001 terror attack site, won a court order to post the ad in 10 subway stations next Monday.
The ad reads, "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."
The ad was plastered on San Francisco city buses in recent weeks, prompting some artists to deface them and remove some of the words.
Ms Geller said she filed a legal suit yesterday in the US capital to post the ad in Washington's transit system after officials declined to put up the ad in light of the uproar over the film.
Ms Geller, executive director of the American Freedom Defence Initiative and publisher of a blog called Atlas Shrugs, called an order by a federal judge in New York allowing the ads "a victory for the First Amendment" and said she was not concerned that her ad could spark protests like the ones against the depiction of Muslims in the video Innocence of Muslims.
Violence linked to the movie has left at least 30 people in seven countries dead, including the American ambassador to Libya.
"If it's not a film it's a cartoon, if it's not a cartoon it's a teddy bear," she said. "What are you going to do? Are you going to reward Islamic extremism? I will not sacrifice my freedom so as not to offend savages."
New York police are not anticipating adding any security to subways when the ads go up and have received no threats or reports of violence relating to them, chief spokesman Paul Browne said.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York initially refused to run the ad, saying it was "demeaning." But US District Court Judge Paul Engelmayer ruled last month that it is protected speech under the First Amendment.
Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, backed publication of the "patently offensive" ads.
Ms Geller said the subway ads cost about 6,000 US dollars (£3,700). Donovan said they will be up for a month.
Opponents say the ads imply that Muslims are savages.
"We recognise the freedom of speech issues and her right to be a bigot and a racist," said Muneer Awad, the executive director of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
But he said he hopes elected officials and the MTA, which runs the nation's largest mass transit system, "take on a leadership role in denouncing hate speech."