N.Y. Mayor Blasts anti-Islamic Ads on City Transit

Bill de Blasio says ads, which aim to 'tell the truth about Islam,' are 'outrageous and inflammatory.'

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An ad featured in a campaign by Pamela Geller in Washington D.C., May 2014.
An ad featured in a campaign by Pamela Geller in Washington D.C., May 2014.Credit: Screenshot from Washington Post

New York City's Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday that an anti-Islamic ad campaign on the city's buses was "outrageous, inflammatory and wrong."

The ads, which will appear on 100 New York City buses and two subway entrances next week, have "no place in New York City, or anywhere," he said in a statement to the Daily News.

The ads are paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative run by blogger Pamela Geller. She says the campaign highlights points about Islam ignored by government and media.

On its Indiegogo page, the campaign claims to "tell truths about Islam and jihad that government and media ignore." "It's not islamophobia, it's islamorealism," the Internet page says.

Transit officials have rejected an ad from the same group that includes the phrase "Killing Jews." The six approved ads show an image of beheaded American journalist James Foley standing next to his killer.

The ads are meant to parody the Council on American-Islamic Relations' “My Jihad” campaign, which portrays jihad as an individual, nonviolent struggle.

"These hateful messages serve only to divide and stigmatize when we should be coming together as one city," de Blasio said Friday.

"While those behind these ads only display their irresponsible intolerance, the rest of us who may be forced to view them can take comfort in the knowledge that we share a better, loftier and nobler view of humanity," he added.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative is planning to sue the MTA, claiming its decision to nix the latter ad violated the group's freedom of speech, The New York Times reported.

“They’re wrong,” said Geller, the group's president. “And when they’re wrong, they make it easy.”

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