Faith Groups Launch Campaign to Counter Anti-Jihad Subway Ad
Jewish and Christian groups have unveiled three separate ad campaigns to counter what they claim is hateful speech toward Muslims contained within an advertisement posted at some New York City subway stations, CNN reported.
The new ads tout religious tolerance and offer support to the Muslim community.
"Help stop bigotry against our Muslim neighbors," reads one. "Support peace in word and deed," reads another, according to CNN.
The campaigns are in response to the controversial "Defeat Jihad" ad that is displayed in ten of the city's more than 400 subway stations. It reads: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."
New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority initially rejected the ad, which was produced by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, but the authority's decision was overturned when a federal judge ruled that the ad is protected speech under the First Amendment.
The three groups behind the new ads are Rabbis for Human Rights as well as Sojourners, a Christian faith-based social justice group, and United Methodist Women.
Timothy King of Sojourners told CNN his group will debut 10 ads, also Monday, in close proximity to the "Defeat Jihad" ads.
"We are going to go out of our way to make sure Muslims are treated well here, and we hope our fellow Christians will be treated well abroad," King said.
United Methodist Women have already posted its ads around Manhattan, according to Harriet Olson, the group's general secretary.
Meanwhile, Pamela Geller, executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, defended the "Defeat Jihad" ad, saying there is nothing hateful about it.
"My own ad is not hate speech. It's love speech. It's love of life speech," she told CNN in an e-mail Friday.
Regarding her critics, Geller said: "Their moral myopia is immense. They are confusing resistance to hatred with actual hatred."
An Egyptian-American anti-Israel activist was recently arrested for vandalizing one of the billboards that was posted on New York City’s Times Square subway station.
Mona Eltahawy, who has made guest appearances on CNN and MSNBC, reportedly sprayed pink paint on the ad. One passerby, Pamela Hall, intervened in an effort to stop the defacement.