Md. faith groups to protest anti-Muslim Metro bus ads

June 9, 2014

ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) – Members of Montgomery County faith groups plan to protest anti-Islamic Metro bus ads Monday in Rockville.
The Montgomery County Faith Community Working Group (FCWG) – which includes members of the local Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Sikh, Unitarian Universalist and Zoroastrian faith communities – issued a statement saying they are “deeply saddened by the placement of anti-Muslim ads on buses owned and operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).”

The ads include photos of Adolf Hitler meeting with an anti-Jewish Islamic leader during World War II, and call for an end to American aid to Islamic countries.

The ads, placed by a group called the American Freedom Defense Initiative, started appearing in May on 20 Metro buses in the D.C. Metro area.

The group previously ran ads on Metro buses in 2012 which were similar in nature, equating Muslims to “savages” and calling for support to Israel.

Metro originally declined to run the ads, so the American Freedom Defense Initiative sued for the right to place the ads. A federal judge ruled that Metro must run the ads, citing freedom of speech.

Monday’s protest will begin at 10:30 a.m. near the Rockville Metro station, at 1 Church Street near the intersection of Route 355.

In Washington DC Metrobus ads, pro-Israel group features photo of Hitler

Provocative, issue-oriented advertising isn’t new in Washington’s transit system. Interest groups often plaster Metro’s buses, trains and stations with head-turning messages, occasionally using language and images that some find offensive.

Now comes a photo of Adolf Hitler.

The pro-Israel group American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), angered by anti-Israel ads that recently appeared on some Metrobuses, has countered with a big ad of its own, featuring the Nazi dictator.

“Our ads are in response to the vicious Jew-hating ads … unleashed on Washington DC Metro buses last month,” AFDI says on its Web site. AFDI, based in New York, has been labeled an anti-Muslim hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil-rights organization that monitors extremist groups.

The “Jew-hating” ad in question, paid for by the Illinois-based group American Muslims for Palestine, appeared on 20 Metro buses from mid-March to mid-April.

The AFDI ad shows Hitler meeting with Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Palestinian nationalist and grand mufti of Jerusalem who allied himself with the Third Reich before and during World War II. Besides making propaganda broadcasts for the Nazis and recruiting European Muslims to serve in the Waffen SS, Husseini backed Hitler’s policy of exterminating Jews.

In September that year, AFDI bought ad space in four subway stations for this message: “In Any War Between the Civilized Man and the Savage, Support the Civilized Man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”