A federal judge in Manhattan has ruled in the favor of an Islamophobic organization, allowing them to run controverisial ads on New York City’s buses and subways advocating that Muslims want to kill Jews. Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) had opposed the said advertisement, arguing it could incite violence and aggression.
The anti-Muslim ad contains the phrase “Hamas Killing Jews” with an image of a young guy, covering his face and head with a checkered scarf.
“Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah,” the ad reads. “That’s His Jihad. What’s yours?”
District Court Judge John G. Koeltl ruled that the ad qualified as protected speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. However, the order will not take effect for 30 days, which gives the MTA ample time to file an appeal if they want to.
“While the court is sensitive to the MTA’s security concerns, the defendants have not presented any objective evidence that the ‘Killing Jews advertisement’ would be likely to incite imminent violence,” he wrote in the order. “The defendants underestimate the tolerant quality of New Yorkers and overestimate the potential impact of these fleeting advertisements.”
U.S. blogger Pamela Gellar’s American Freedom Defense Initiative, notorious for their similar Islamophobic campaigns in other cities, paid for the ad space. The organization filed the lawsuit against MTA last year after the transit agency refused to run the ads.
The order glorifies free speech, but subsequently paves the way for the hateful stereotype of Muslims as anti-Semitic terrorists to persist. The contentious campaign shames Islam, belittling an entire minority's faith and ideology. In the U.S., there is already enough imagery and assumptions perpetuated by the media that generalizes Islam as extremist and violent. Instead of allowing hate groups to win and spread their ignorant ideas, what we need are more images that depict Islam as a peaceful, loving religion — exactly what it is.
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