Delaying anti-jihad ads cost Metro $35,000

A federal judge ruled the ads are protected speech despite concerns from city officials and community leaders that the banners promote hate speech. (AP Photo)

Alicia Lozano, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Metro was slapped with hefty attorney fees and legal costs after attempting to block the posting of controversial anti-jihad ads in rail stations throughout the region.

An email obtained exclusively by Legal Times shows that Metro agreed in October to pay $35,000 to the American Freedom Defense Initiative, the New York-based organization behind those ads.

This came after months of legal wrangling that ended when a federal judge sided with AFDI and ruled that the ads were protected speech. Some city officials and community leaders rallied against the banners, calling their message hate speech.

“In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad,” reads one of the ads.

Metro argued it had “compelling interest” in delaying the ads because of a potential threat to public safety, Legal Times reports. AFDI countered that postponing the campaign violated its First Amendment rights.

Meanwhile, a new round of pro-Israel ads could be making their debut in Metro stations sometime next year. The campaign would feature images of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York next to verses of the Quran.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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