A pro-Israel group won a New York court fight to display a controversial ad on New York public transit that blasts Islamists’ attitudes toward the Jewish state.
The ad depicts a young Muslim man wearing a checkered keffiyeh alongside the message, “Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah,” according to The Washington Post. “That’s His Jihad. What’s yours?”
When the Houston-based pro-Israel organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative submitted the ad, the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority, or MTA, balked, citing public safety concerns. It claimed the ad could incite violence against Jews.
U.S. District Judge John Koeltl disagreed, and said the ad should be allowed to run on scores of the city’s buses and subway cars.
The MTA officials “underestimate the tolerant quality of New Yorkers and overestimate the potential impact of these fleeting advertisements,” he said in his decision.
“Moreover, there is no evidence that seeing one of these advertisements on the back of a bus would be sufficient to trigger a violent reaction. Therefore, these ads — offensive as they may be — are still entitled to First Amendment protection.”
Following the decision, Pamela Geller, co-founder and president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, tweeted sweet victory:
VICTORY!Judge rules for us in AFDI vs MTA:”The [MTA’s} theory is thoroughly unpersuasive” #WIN http://t.co/7nkCXIrTd7 pic.twitter.com/EtdlRs2kZL
— Pamela Geller (@PamelaGeller) April 21, 2015
The “My Jihad” ad parodies an ad that the Council on American Islamic Relations ran a few years ago, which stated, “#MyJihad is to build friendships across the aisle. What’s yours?”
The judge noted that the defendant — the MTA — admitted that the ad was intended as a parody to the CAIR ad campaign.
“However, they argue that a reasonable New Yorker would not read the advertisement this way, but would instead read it as advocating the killing of Jewish people,” Koeltl wrote, according to the Post. “The defendants’ theory is thoroughly unpersuasive.”
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