A “defeat jihad” advertisement that represents the latest clash between the nation’s commitment to free speech and its responsibility to protect against terrorism is headed to a D.C. district court this week — and possibly to Metro stations.
The American Freedom Defense Initiative, an advocacy group that warns against the Islamization of America, submitted advertisements for the New York City subway and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority system. The proposed advertisement reads: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man,” with the tagline: “Support Israel/Defeat Jihad.”
The Washington free speech hearing heats up. Politico's top story here:
FREE SPEECH VS. SAFE RIDES: Later this week, a district court in D.C. will take on the same issue that was decided in New York last week: Are Metro’s delay tactics on a “defeat jihad” advertisement a violation of freedom of speech laws — and the Constitution? In New York, the answer was squarely on the side of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, leading to ads in the subway that were soon defaced by protesters. That has Pamela Geller, AFDI’s executive director, heartened that her ads will run soon in D.C., as well.
‘Absurd’: “My ads can run anytime,” Geller told MT. “Their argument was absurd to begin with, as well as dangerous — it sets the precedent that anyone who doesn't like some speech can be violent about it and thereby shut it up.” According to court documents Team MT pored over, Metro tasked its police chief, Michael Taborn, to review the submitted ads in light of attacks on U.S. embassies sparked by a shadowy Internet film. “Airing the AFDI ad in the Metrorail system, while many Muslims are agitated as a result of the video, presents a danger to WMATA’s patrons and its employees,” he wrote in court filings, leading to the delay of the ad.