Anti-Muslim ad creates more controversy

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – An advertisement that contains just 18 words and equates Muslims with savages makes its debut in four unidentified Metro stations Monday.

It has sparked fears that the ad could trigger protests and violence here. The American Freedom Defense Initiative is sponsoring the ad, which will be up for a month.

The ad has already appeared in both the New York subway system and on San Francisco buses.

It reads: “In any War Between the Civilized Man and the Savage, Support the Civilized Man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.”

Metro delayed putting up the advertisement after violent protests overseas to an anti-Islamic film made in the United States. But a federal court ruled on Oct. 5 that the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority could not refuse the advertisement on First Amendment grounds.

Ibrahim Hooper, from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), has joined with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Jewish Voice for Peace to ask Metro to provide free space to counter the ad’s message.

“The answer to hate speech is not censorship. The answer to hate speech is more civil speech promoting mutual understanding and tolerance,” says Hooper.

Hooper says CAIR is worried the advertisement will instigate violence against Muslims.

He does not think there will be any violent response from the Muslim community. He says protests over the anti-islamic film that prompted violence around the word did not show up in the U.S.

A spokeswoman for Metro would not comment on the request for free space. She says only that Metro will comply with the court ruling.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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