Our VoiceIslamophobia

Latest Geller, AFDI transit ads conflate Islam, anti-Semitism

Imagine 2050 Staff • Jun 03, 2014

The latest anti-Muslim advertisements paid for the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) are running on Washington, D.C., transit vehicles — and they are just as deplorable as the others we’ve come to expect from the group. The ads are the product of anti-Muslim bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who co-run AFDI, and have become notorious for promoting Islamophobic ads to cities nationwide.

ADFI’s latest campaign equates Islam with anti-Semitism. The ad features a historic photo of Hajj Amin Al Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, meeting with Adolf Hitler, and is accompanied by text that reads: “Islamic Jew Hatred: It’s in the Quran.” It then calls to “stop racism” by calling for the U.S. to aid all aid to Islamic countries.

According to Geller, it was in response to what she claimed were “vicious Jew-hating ads” that ran on Metro buses in April. The ad she’s referring to were paid for by American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a pro-Palestine group, that called to “Stop aid to Israel’s occupation.” AMP, however, said in a statement they reject Geller’s “attempt to conflate our political speech with anti-Semitism,” adding they also reject her “response to our political speech ad with a racist and Islamophobic one.”

It appears AFDI has their sights on taking this ad nationwide and are now soliciting funds to have it featured in various cities.

“We want to take this to New York City,” Geller said in an email. “We want to buy the prominent panels at the entrances to subway stations, which will cost us $5,000 apiece.” Geller also revealed plans to buy ad space in Philadelphia, Houston, San Francisco, and Phoenix.

As previously documented, this latest ad is part of an ongoing campaign by AFDI to use public space to spread their intolerant message. In fact, the group has previously featured ads in New York and San Francisco that generalized Muslims as being “savages.” The ads are usually rejected initially, and result in the group invoking the First Amendment to sue, which often lead to the ad’s approval. Such was the case by D.C.’s metropolitan transit authority, who, after initially losing to AFDI’s right to run it’s “savage” ad, reluctantly approved to run this one. Geller is represented by the Islamophobic law firm American Freedom Law Center (AFLC), who is known for being the legal arm of the organized anti-Muslim movement.

“And might I add, had we not sued and won in New York City and Washington for violating our First Amendment rights when they tried to refuse our previous ads, these ads might never have gone up,” Geller said after the rollout of her latest D.C. ads.

Invoking the First Amendment and free speech is a common argument used by Geller and AFLC in defense of these of these ads. Courts will often rule in favor of Geller’s right to freedom of speech and allow the ads to be run. However, what is to be highlighted is Geller’s reckless use of the First Amendment to marginalize the American Muslim community and defame an entire religion. And while the ads are said to not incite violence, the ads fuel distrust of Muslims and infringe on another aspect of the First Amendment: the right to freely practice one’s own religion.

As Geller and AFDI continue to deploy their strategy to publicly defame Muslims by way of advertisements, the need to expose them for their hate-filled agenda remains crucial.

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