More provocative ads go up in NYC subways from group that equated Muslims with ‘savages’

NEW YORK — The group that equated Muslim radicals with savages in advertisements last year has put up another set of provocative ads in dozens of New York City subway stations.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative purchased space next to 228 clocks in 39 stations for ads with an image of the burning World Trade Center and a quote attributed to the Quran saying: “Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers.”

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said the ads went up Monday and will run for a month.

The same group paid for ads to be displayed in 10 stations in September. Those ads implied enemies of Israel are “savages.”

The MTA also sold space last year to competing advertisements that urged tolerance.

After flap over pro-Israel ‘savage’ ad, NY subway ads on politics, religion to get disclaimers

NEW YORK — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved new guidelines for advertisements on Thursday, prohibiting those that it “reasonably foresees would imminently incite or provoke violence or other immediate breach of the peace.”

Under a policy adopted Thursday by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board, ads expressing political, religious or moral viewpoints will have to include legends cautioning that the views being expressed aren’t necessarily endorsed by the MTA. The disclaimers also will carry the names of the people or groups sponsoring the advertisements.

The ad, which began running in the nation’s biggest transit system this month as a result of the court order, says, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

This week, an Egyptian-born U.S. columnist was arrested for spray-painting one of the advertisements in a Manhattan subway station. The columnist, Mona Eltahawy, who calls herself a liberal Muslim who’s spoken publicly against violent Islamic groups, said as police officers were arresting her, “I’m an Egyptian-American, and I refuse hate.”

In a statement, the MTA said it had considered banning political speech and restricting ads to only those with commercial messages.

Provocative ads promoting defeat of ‘savage’ jihad appear in NYC subways, draw criticism

NEW YORK — Provocative advertisements equating Muslim radicals with savages appeared in New York City subways on Monday, drawing immediate criticism from some riders.

“It’s a terrible idea,” said Colby Richardson at a subway station in midtown Manhattan. “It’s going to spark controversy obviously when you deem one side savages and the other side civilized. “

The ads — reading, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” — went up in 10 stations across Manhattan after a court victory by a conservative commentator who once headed a campaign against an Islamic center near the World Trade Center site.

Many commuters in New York City were uncomfortable with a new series of subway ads that equate Muslim radicals with savages. The MTA was forced to put up the ads in the subway system after a lawsuit by anti-Islamic blogger Pamela Geller. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York initially refused to run blogger Pamela Geller’s ad, saying it was “demeaning.” But a federal judge ruled in July that it is protected speech under the First Amendment.

Protesters denounce Metro North ads as Islamophobic, call on MTA to rethink campaign

WHITE PLAINS — As supporters held up signs protesting Islamophobia, a coalition of community leaders and residents gathered downtown Thursday to denounce anti-Muslim advertisements posted at Metro-North stations throughout Westchester County.

The coalition revealed its plan to counter the anti-Islamic campaign, calling on Metro-North to distance itself from the advertisement and donate revenue earned from its publication to an organization that combats extremism.

Paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative — a group led by Pamela Geller — the ads associate the religion of Islam with 19,250 terrorist attacks carried out by extremists since Sept 11, 2001. Printed in large block lettering on a dark background, an asterisk denotes that number is rising, and a slogan below reads: “It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.”

Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner called on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to publicly denounce the signs, suggesting a disclaimer be placed on Metro-North platforms saying the agency does not support the advertisement.

Marjorie Anders, a spokeswoman for Metro-North Railroad, said it does not endorse the viewpoint expressed in the ad but refrains from banning advertising based on its message. Anders added that the railroad relies on advertising to generate revenue. MTA chairman and CEO, Joseph Lhota, has indicated the agency will discuss its policies on political ads later this month.

Anti-Islamic ad claiming “it’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism” goes up in NY train stations

(CBS/AP)  An anti-Islamic advertisement has gone up at several Metro-North Railroad stations in Westchester County.

It reads: “It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.”

The signs were paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, an organization ran by blogger and political activist Pamela Geller. It associates Islam with 19,250 terrorist attacks carried out by extremists since the 9/11. She told CBS radio station 1010 WINS in New York that the sign is intended to tell people that it is not “Islamophobic’ to oppose jihad terror.”

“The ad is just stating a fact. There have been well over 19,000 jihadi attacks since 9/11,” Geller said. “People need to know this. Obviously, everybody is surprised by this number and I think that’s part of the reason why we need to run these ads. People need to know this is going on across the world.”

The Metropolitan Transpiration Authority in New York (MTA) said it doesn’t support the sentiment displayed in the ad but doesn’t bar advertising based on content, according to CBS station WCBS in New York.

WCBS also reported that the American Freedom Defense Initiative previously attempted to place another ad with the MTA that had a picture of a mosque next to a plane flying toward the World Trade towers with the words “Why There?” In a decision earlier this summer, the federal court declared that the MTA would be violating the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s First Amendment rights if they blocked that ad, according to CBS radio station WCBS 880 in New York.

The AFDI’s Pamela Gellar argues that the ad isn’t offensive at all and simply points out facts. “It is, as the ad says, Islamorealistic.” But at least one prominent pro-Israel group disagrees. In a statement to NBC4, the Anti Defamation League said, “We believe these ads are highly offensive and inflammatory. Pro-Israel doesn’t mean anti-Muslim.”

Last month, pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel ads appeared at Metro-North stations.

MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota said the agency may discuss its policies on political ads in September.

NY Sikh, Muslim workers allowed to wear religious head coverings under legal settlement

NEW YORK — New York’s Sikh and Muslim transit workers will be allowed to wear religious head coverings without a government agency logo after years of bitter legal battles that started after the 9/11 terror attacks.
A settlement between workers and New York City Transit run by the state Metropolitan Transportation Authority was announced Wednesday.
“This was the back-of-the-bus solution,” said Amardeep Singh, a Sikh-American community spokesman who compared the agency’s dealings with the employees to the pre-civil rights practice of seating black Americans at the back of public buses.
The agency issued a policy before 9/11 forcing employees wearing the traditional Sikh turbans and Muslim khimars, or headscarves, to work out of public view. Some were reassigned from bus routes to nonpublic jobs in depots.
The agency later changed the policy so that workers were allowed to wear the head coverings in public — but only with the MTA logo attached.
Shayana Kadidal, an attorney at Manhattan’s Center for Constitutional Rights, said it was “a calculated attempt” to hide certain workers “on the grounds that they ‘look Muslim’ and might alarm the public for that reason.”
Among them was a subway train operator who became a 9/11 hero, for evacuating more than 800 people from the subway near the World Trade Center by maneuvering his train to safety after power was knocked out. Above, the towers were collapsing and dust filled the station.
“The MTA honored me for driving my train in reverse away from the towers on 9/11 and leading passengers to safety,” said motorman Kevin Harrington. “I didn’t have a corporate logo on my turban on 9/11.”
The problem started when his client, Malikah Alkebulan, a Muslim bus driver, was hired several months after Sept. 11, 2001. While in training, he said, “she was told she would have to take ‘that thing’ off her head.”