AFDI Wins Major Free Speech Victory as Federal Court Rules Anti-Hamas Ad Must Run
While our Philly free speech win is still reverberating across the country, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) won an important victory for the freedom of speech today as a federal court ruled that New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) must run its ad criticizing Hamas and Islamic anti-Semitism on City buses.
The media coverage is massive – New York Times, NY Daily News, ABC, NBC, NY Post, Jerusalem Post, The Daily Mail et al (scroll down). All of these news stories quote the ad — so the message, one that few know, gets to millions more people.
The ad reads, “‘Killing Jews is worship that draws us closer to Allah’ – Hamas MTV. That’s his jihad, what’s yours?” It was developed as a rejoinder to the deceptive and misleading ad campaign of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) that attempted to deceive Americans into thinking that jihad involved nothing less innocuous than going to the gym and taking children to school, not waging war against non-Muslims.
AFDI President Pamela Geller said in a statement: “This is another huge AFDI victory for freedom and individual rights. Judge John Koeltl came down on our side on every point, upholding the Constitution and beating back sharia restrictions on free speech.”
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in AFDI’s favor on its motion for a preliminary injunction asking the court to order the MTA to run the ad. The MTA had claimed that the ad could incite violence, as a jihadi might think that the ad was giving him orders. Koeltl rejected this argument in his ruling as he wrote:
The defendants’ theory is thoroughly unpersuasive.
The defendants contend that the advertisement could be read as urging a subset of Islamic extremists to follow Hamas’s command, but if that group is as violent and radicalized as the defendants contend, presumably they would not need a bus advertisement to remind them of Hamas’s interpretation of the Quran.
Koeltl emphasized the most important point: “[S]ecuring First Amendment rights is in the public interest.”
David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise of the American Freedom Law Center argued AFDI’s case before the court.
For further information about the hearings, see here.
Watch this video which aired on NBC this past Sunday on our Phillly win:
With our NY win, our ads will make their debut on New York buses in the coming weeks.
We want to run 100. Help us make that happen.
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Attention: Pamela Geller
1040 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10022
The terror-linked group CAIR had an ad campaign ‘rebranding’ the word jihad (http://myjihad.org/). They mean to make it into something soft and fuzzy. Our ad campaign is a response to their campaign.
Our ads quote high-profile Muslims and Muslim organizations calling for jihad, genocide, gender apartheid, creed apartheid, etc. Shutting down free speech won’t stop these savages, it will embolden them.
The “killing Jews is worship to Allah” ad is a direct quote from a Hamas broadcast on “Palestinian” television. Hamas was just re-elected. Do Americans know this? It is about calling attention to the genocidal statements of Hamas, and to Islamic antisemitism in general. It is scandalous that even one penny of American aid goes to these people who nurse this genocidal bloodlust.
New York Daily News – 1 hour ago
A conservative firebrand said Tuesday she plans to paper at least 50 MTA buses with Islamophobic posters following a judge's ruling the ads were protected by the First Amendment. Manhattan Federal Court Judge John Koeltl wrote the MTA had improperly …
New York Times – 2 hours ago
“While the court is sensitive to the M.T.A.'s security concerns, the defendants have not presented any objective evidence that the 'Killing Jews advertisement' would be likely to incite imminent violence,” Judge Koeltl wrote in the order. The judge noted that a …
New York Post – 4 hours ago
Say what you will about the decision, but at least this judge gives New Yorkers respect. Manhattan federal Judge John Koetl ruled Tuesday that the MTA cannot stop a political activist from running ads on city buses that attack Islamic fundamentalists — saying …
ABC News – 3 hours ago
The lawsuit was filed after the MTA notified the group in August that it would display three of four proposed advertisements but not an ad with the quote "Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah" because it could incite violence. In the ad, a covered …
BBC News - 1 hour ago
A judge has ruled that New York City's buses must display a controversial ad that refers to Muslims killing Jews. New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) had opposed the advertisement, arguing it could incite terrorism and violence. But Judge …
Haaretz – 2 hours ago
Koeltl said he was "sensitive" to the security concerns, but noted that the MTA and Chairman Thomas Prendergast "underestimate the tolerant quality of New Yorkers and overestimate the potential impact of these fleeting advertisements. It strains credulity to …
Fox News - 3 hours ago
NEW YORK – A federal judge says a pro-Israel advocacy group known for publicly criticizing Islam can display its political advertisement containing the phrase "Hamas Killing Jews" on New York City's buses. Judge John Koeltl (KOHT'-uhl) said in a decision …
Reuters - 7 hours ago
(Adds MTA comment, prior litigation). By Jonathan Stempel. NEW YORK, April 21 (Reuters) – A federal judge on Tuesday ordered New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority to display on its buses a controversial ad that refers to Muslims killing Jews, …
Times of India – 1 hour ago
NEW YORK: A federal judge on Tuesday ordered New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority to display on its buses a controversial ad that refers to Muslims killing Jews, rejecting the argument that the ad could incite terrorism or imminent violence.
Jerusalem Post Israel News - 8 hours ago
Koeltl said the MTA did not show that the ad could prompt imminent violence, noting that none occurred when the ad ran in Chicago and San Francisco, or that New York City should be treated differently because it is a more prominent terrorism target.
JP Updates - 6 hours ago
Koeltl said he was “sensitive” to the security concerns, but noted that the MTA and Chairman Thomas Prendergast”underestimate the tolerant quality of New Yorkers and overestimate the potential impact of these fleeting advertisements. It strains credulity to …
amNY - 6 hours ago
A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the MTA to display on its buses a controversial ad that refers to Muslims killing Jews, rejecting the argument that the ad could incite terrorism or imminent violence. U.S. District Judge John Koeltl in Manhattan said the ad …
Courthouse News Service - 6 hours ago
"While the court is sensitive to the MTA's security concerns, the [administration has] not presented any objective evidence that the Killing Jews advertisement would be likely to incite imminent violence," the 28-page opinion states. "Indeed, as the [MTA] knew …
Jewish Telegraphic Agency - 3 hours ago
Koeltl rejected the MTA argument that the ad could be seen as a call to violence against Jews and could incite terrorism. The ad is sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which is headed by blogger Pamela Geller and is known for its sharp …
Yahoo! News - 17 minutes ago
A United States federal judge has ordered New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to display on its buses a controversial ad that refers to Muslims killing Jews, rejecting the argument that the ad could incite "terrorism" or imminent violence.
Business Insider - 9 hours ago
He also said the MTA did not present objective evidence that its display would likely incite imminent violence. According to the decision, the ad portrayed a menacing-looking man whose head and face were mostly covered by a head scarf. The decision also …
Arutz Sheva - 7 hours ago
A federal judge ordered the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) must run a controversial ad referencing Muslims killing Jews. The ad, which features a man with his face covered in a scarf and the quote "Killing Jews is Worship that draws us …
Shalom Life - 4 hours ago
… parties involved as the "Killing Jews Ad," is protected speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and ordered New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority to display it on its buses. The MTA has but only 30 days to appeal his decision.
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