News / USA

    Controversial Pro-Israel Ads Go Up in Washington Subway

    Jeff Swicord
    A U.S. District Court judge in Washington DC has ruled that the city’s subway system must allow a pro-Israel ad that equates Muslim radicals with savages to be displayed in Metro stations.  Legal experts say there is no way around the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects freedom of speech, even when some people consider that speech offensive.

    Metro officials had raised concerns that this ad could incite violence especially after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.  

    The ad reads: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.  Support Israel.  Defeat jihad.”

    To many Muslims, jihad means an internal spiritual struggle.  But some have used the religious concept as an excuse for violence.

    Nihad Awad is executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations. The group advocates for American Muslims.

    “So far the overwhelming majority of those who viewed the ads condemned them.  Condemned the bigotry, the hatred behind it, and the organizers of it,” Awad said.

    The ads are sponsored by The American Freedom Defense Initiative, a pro-Israel group that says it is fighting against the Islamization of America.  Two U.S. civil rights organizations list it as a hate group.

    The group won a similar court fight in New York, where the ads went up in subway stations in September.  Pamela Geller is executive director of AFDI. She dismisses assertions that recent events should delay the ads.

    “It’s never a good time.  If it’s not an ad, it’s a film.  If it’s not a film it’s a teddy bear.  If it’s not a teddy bear, it is a Danish cartoon, or a Swedish cartoon.  Or a French cartoon.  When is a good time to speak openly and candidly about jihad?,” Geller said.

    Washington Metro officials say the FBI is investigating a threat of violence if the ads ran.  There have been minor reports of vandalism to the ads that were put up in New York, but overall criticism has been restrained.

    Benetta Standly, Washington director of the American Civil Liberties Union, says the fear of violence does not mean the the First Amendment, which protects free speech, can be overridden. She argues the way to counter hateful speech is to speak out against it peacefully.

    “In this country, the answer to offensive or hateful speech is simply more speech to counter that.  So what we see happening now in the Washington, D.C., Metro transit system is people are starting to put up different advertisements that counter the hateful speech,” Standly said.

    American Muslim organizations plan to put their own ads in Metro stations within days.

    “I think this is what everyone needs to see.  They want to see messages that emphasize love, compassion, coexistence, and reconciliation.  Not hateful messages that are designed to rip the fabric of the United States and to divide people along ethnic and religious lines,” Awad said.

    You May Like

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: iosca40 from: Modesto, Ca
    October 15, 2012 10:29 PM
    I love the decision of U.S. District Court, that represents America's Freedom and am so sad for American's Muslims who don't agree on what they found on this Blessed Land of opportunities. If you don't like America's Constitution, go back on the land of whole violence and bad principles. Viva la America's Freedom !

    by: Jonathan Keet from: Israel
    October 14, 2012 5:30 PM
    As a staunch supporter of Israel and freedom of choice, I find this to be obnoxious propaganda which will do Israel an ill-service and bring even more dissent to a troubled world.

    by: samu from: china
    October 14, 2012 2:53 AM
    in many american movies which directed by jewsh we always notice an advocation not to believe what the media says, they know that how the media is powerful, so they are fighting us by the most effective tool. to the americans, what will happen if your country save its money, time and diplomacy and not to interfere others bussiness. usa would be better without supporting a small country against all the world. you better see who owns the companies of the whole american media's, they are jewsh.

    by: karimi from: kabul
    October 12, 2012 11:32 PM
    just one notification:
    civilized man will be peaceful with all religions.
    insulting and hostile word never be preserved for a good man and civilized man.
    islam or jews both are god religions then what is supporting or not supporting.

    by: Dan Wright from: Indiana
    October 12, 2012 11:28 PM
    Why don't we ever hear Muslims saying things like, "We have these sort of ads coming. We Muslims have a lot of violence against innocent people to answer for. If we aren't going to speak out loudly against violence, or if we wait to speak out until prompted by some international leader threatening sanctions, we can expect people to come to this sort of conclusion about us. --And by the way, most of us LOVE Israel and the Jewish people!" --The world has never heard this. Why?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.