WASHINGTON – The organization behind controversial anti-jihad Metro ads is preparing to launch a new campaign using images of the Sept. 11 attacks next to verses from the Quran.
“Those who disbelieve our revelations, we shall expose them to the fire. As often as their skins are consumed, we shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment,” reads the new advertisement.
Those words appear next to a picture of the Twin Towers burning.
“These are the verses that inspire jihad and I think it’s important the American people understand that,” says Pam Geller, executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, the organization behind the ads.
This next round is aimed to rebut posters by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which mounted a counteroffensive after the original ads went up in Metro stations throughout D.C.
In the CAIR campaign, a young Muslim girl is shown next to a different verse from the Quran:
“Show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant,” the ad reads.
This is just part of an ongoing “campaign of misinformation” by anti-Israel groups that have been running campaigns in New York and D.C. with “inaccurate maps” of Palestine, Geller says. These inspired the original posters, whose debut last week caused an avalanche of protests from civil rights and Muslim advocacy groups.
Geller, who recently published a new book called “Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance,” maintains that she does “not believe that all Muslims sanction and support jihad.”
CAIR isn’t so sure.
“It’s a free country. People are free to be hatemongers,” says Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for CAIR. “It’s really up to the rest of the society … to repudiate this kind of hate speech.”
But Geller calls this a First Amendment issue.
“Freedom of speech and freedom of the press is the lifeblood of this society,” she says.
In an email, WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel says Metro is “working through the process” of reviewing Geller’s new ads and cannot confirm whether they will be displayed.
“The courts have ruled that Metro’s advertising space is a public forum,” Stessel wrote. “As such, we are unable to reject ads based on content. As a reminder to all, Metro does not endorse the content of any third-party advertising that appears on the system.”
Even if the ads are rejected by WMATA, Geller has more planned. Future ones could feature images from the 2009 Fort Hood shooting in which 13 people were killed, she says.
All the publicity has been good for business. Geller’s website, Atlas Shrugs, has seen an uptick in readers since the original ads – which cost $5,000 – popped up. And money is pouring in, she says.
“People are clearly waking up,” Geller says. “I see it in my [web] traffic and in the donations I receive.”
Hooper says Geller’s claims of increased support make it clear her target is not CAIR, but Islam itself. Still, his organization does not plan on further participating in the ad war.
“It’s better to move forward with a positive message … without reference to inter-faith hostility,” he says.
Metro cannot say when it will decide whether to run Geller’s new ads.