As I predicted after witnessing our hearing in our landmark "Leaving Islam" case back in July, the Sixth Circuit has ruled that SMART was justified in rejecting our ads because Islam is political. So does that open the door to removing the religious protections afforded this political system (sharia) that assets authority over non-Muslims?
Our ad was a religious ad. The intention was to save lives like that of Rifqa
Bary (Noor Almaleki, Amina Said, Sarah Said, Jessica Mokdad, et al).
The court, in a tortured and twisted opinion, said it was a political
ad. Even so, all religious speech is political.
The Constitution says so. It's protected as a political right under the
The court ignored Beth Gibbons's testimony -- the actual woman who made the decision for SMART, who said it was NOT political. This court wanted to reach a certain result. Neither the facts nor the law grants them that option. The court chose to change the facts (Gibbons' testimony).
This is where we are with a hostile judiciary . . . .we will first ask for a full court rehearing on this matter (we will be filing a petition for rehearing en banc within 14 days). Moreover, this is just a preliminary ruling, and not a final ruling on the merits. We intend to engage in aggressive discovery to demonstrate on a complete record that SMART’s speech restriction was arbitrary and ultimately unconstitutional. This case is not over. Not by a long shot.
Here is the ruling:
What began as a clear First Amendment issue has exploded into a landmark case regarding the status of Islam as a political entity. Last Thursday the Detroit Transit Authority (SMART), a government entity, argued before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals that my organization’s “Leaving Islam?” ad was political because Islam is political. At least two of the three judges seemed to go along.......... (read the whole thing here)
"Sixth Circuit: Michigan Can Ban Anti-Islam Ads from Buses" Joe Palazzolo, Wall Street Journal
Does First Amendment protect our right to say what we want in advertisements on the side of a city bus?
Yes and no.
A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that a Michigan transit authority could bar from the side of its buses an advertisement that read: “Fatwa on your head? Is your family or community threatening you? Leaving Islam? Got Questions? Get Answers! RefugefromIslam.com”
The group behind the ads is the the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which describes its mission as acting “against the treason being committed by national, state, and local government officials, the mainstream media, and others in their capitulation to the global jihad and Islamic supremacism.”
The group had sought in 2010 to place the ads on the buses in Michigan’s four southeastern-most counties, but the authority refused, on the grounds that the ads violated a policy against political advertisements and offensive speech.
AFDI sued, claiming First Amendment violations, and won. A federal district judge ruled in March 2011 that the ad policy gave inadequate guidance on what was permissible. The court noted, for instance, that the authority had allowed an atheist group to advertise on the buses.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit said Thursday said that the side of the bus, in this case, wasn’t a public forum because the transit authority – Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, or SMART – rejected all political advertisements. The state never opened the space for discourse.
Once SMART established that the space on the buses was a nonpublic forum, it could ban political speech, as long as it did so in a “reasonable and viewpoint neutral” way. The Sixth Circuit held that it did.
In recent months, federal district courts have ruled that transit authorities in New York and Washington, D.C., violated AFDI’s First Amendment rights by refusing to put up an ad that reads: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.”
In the New York case, U.S. District Judge Judge Paul A. Engelmayer ruled that the exterior of buses was a public space, because the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority accepted both political and commercial advertising. Thus, MTA couldn’t restrict AFDI’s political speech.