On May 27, 2014, AFDI submitted an advertisement that showed Haj Amin al- Husseini, a pro-Nazi Palestinian leader in the 1930s, smiling at Adolf Hitler beside the caption: "Islamic Jew-hatred: It's in the Quran. Two thirds of all US aid goes to Islamic countries. Stop the hate. End all aid to Islamic countries." AFDI’s Ad in Philadelphia
SEPTA’s Response to AFDI On June 3, 2014, SEPTA rejected the ad, saying that SEPTA’s ad policy prohibited “[a]dvertising that tends to disparage or ridicule any person or group of persons on the basis of race, religious belief, age, sex, alienage, national origin, sickness or disability.”
AFDI Sues SEPTA AFDI responded by suing SEPTA based on free speech grounds. The First Amendment protects outrageous and even offensive speech. The government (SEPTA is a public authority) may NOT reject political advertisements simply because it doesn’t condone the message, the ads are offensive, or even if they contain factual errors. “Core political speech” such as this receives some of the highest constitutional protection available. Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, President and Vice President of AFDI
Final Ruling On March 11, District Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg ruled in favor of AFDI, forcing SEPTA to run the ads for four weeks. The ads will be on 84 buses and began appearing last Wednesday. Judge Goldberg wrote that while SEPTA’s anti- disparagement standard ad policy was commendable, this fact unfortunately did not clear SEPTA of its First Amendment violations.
Interfaith/Interagency Strategy Coalition Formed October 15, 2014 What Have We Done? 1.Adopted RLC Statement: October 14, 2014 2.Launched Petition Site: December 2014 3.Launched Resource Site: December 2014 4.Met with School District Leaders and Drafted Memo for School Leaders: November 15, 2014 5.Communication with SEPTA and the Media: Ongoing 6.Dare to Understand™ Community Response Campaign: March-April 2015
Action Step #1 RLC Statement Adopted October 14, 2014
Action Step #2 Launched Petition Site: December 2014
Action Step #3 Launched Resource Site: December 2014
Met with School District Leaders and Drafted Memo for School Leaders Action Step #4
Communication with SEPTA and the Media Action Step #5 Media Coverage "Quiet debut for anti-Muslim bus ads; counter-message billboard overlooks I-76," Robert Moran (Philadelphia Inquirer - 4/2/15) "Quiet debut for anti-Muslim bus ads; counter-message billboard overlooks I-76," Robert Moran (Philadelphia Inquirer - 4/2/15) "Head Of Local Interfaith Center: 'Anti-Islamic SEPTA Ads Do Not Represent Our Philadelphia,'" Dom Giordano (CBS Philly - 4/1/15) "Head Of Local Interfaith Center: 'Anti-Islamic SEPTA Ads Do Not Represent Our Philadelphia,'" Dom Giordano (CBS Philly - 4/1/15) "Philadelphia Muslims Turning The Other Cheek As Anti-Islam Bus Ads Appear," Cherri Greg (CBS Philly - 4/1/15) "Philadelphia Muslims Turning The Other Cheek As Anti-Islam Bus Ads Appear," Cherri Greg (CBS Philly - 4/1/15) "Interfaith Rally Looks Beyond Anti-Islam Bus Ads That SEPTA Is Being Forced To Run," Cherri Gregg (CBS Philly - 3/31/15) "Interfaith Rally Looks Beyond Anti-Islam Bus Ads That SEPTA Is Being Forced To Run," Cherri Gregg (CBS Philly - 3/31/15) "Contempt for SEPTA Ads Brings Groups Together," Eric Berger (Jewish Exponent - 3/31/15) "Contempt for SEPTA Ads Brings Groups Together," Eric Berger (Jewish Exponent - 3/31/15) Ongoing Communication with SEPTA
Dare to Understand™ Community Response Campaign: March-April 2015 Action Step #6
DareToUnderstand.org This is the main hub for our Dare to Understand campaign where we keep people updated on any news or events As of Thursday, April 2 nd, we have raised over $28,500 from donors living across America With an ultimate goal of $50,000, we hope to spread positive images of love and understanding on taxis, benches, billboards, and newspapers throughout the region
Transportation Authority Disclaimer: New York (MTA)
Transportation Authority Disclaimer: San Francisco (SFMTA)
New York: “Talk Back to Hate” “In January 2013, another round of hateful anti-Muslim ads appeared in New York City subway stations. So we launched a crowd- funded campaign to represent the real spirit of our city. 250 strangers came together online to buy our own ads, and run them citywide.” They raised $7,500. http://talkbacktohate.org/
Washington, D.C.: CAIR Responds with Free Qurans “We encourage those who view Geller's false and inflammatory ads to visit CAIR's 'Explore the Quran' website to request a free copy of the Quran so they can read it for themselves... Anyone who reads the Quran will discover that it honors Jews and Christians for believing in one God and calls on all believers to live in peace and harmony."
New York: #mysubwayad (United Methodist Women) AFDI: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” UMW: “Hate speech is not civilized. Support peace in word and deed. #mysubwayad”
Denver: “Love Thy Neighbor” "Love Thy Neighbor" ads, purchased for $5,000, appeared on 10 buses in December 2012 and January 2013. The "Love Thy Neighbor" message conveys "a shared concept in the three religions," Colorado Muslim Society Imam Karim Abuzaid said. "In Islam, we are commanded to love our neighbor, or at least act in love."
Chicago: “Not in my Chicago!” Social Media Campaign (JCUA)
New York and D.C.: “Fighting for Peace” http://www.mpac.org/issues/islamophobia/mpac -to-launch-nyc-dc-metro-ads-opposing-racism- bigotry.php
Washington, D.C.: #SpreadHummusNotHate A small band of Jews and Muslims marched through one of the city’s busiest squares Tuesday (Oct. 14) shouting “Spread Hummus! Not Hate!”… The one-day bus tour began at the University of Maryland, traveled to a mosque in D.C. and ended at a private residence in Virginia. Organized by the newly formed Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum, the “#Spreadhummusnothate” bus tour served up pita bread and hummus — a chick pea dip savored by Jews and Muslims alike — at most of its six stops. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/1 5/spread-hummus-not- hate_n_5989242.html
Interfaith/Interagency Strategy Coalition Possible Future Action Steps
Possible Action Steps Pending Funding, Interest, and Capacity Harvard Pluralism Project Case Study Interview (conducted by Walking the Walk alumni) Essay/Poster/Speech Contest in Schools Grassroots Educational/Mobilization Efforts Teacher Training and Other School/Community Requests Dare to Understand Interfaith Images Photo Exhibit Other Ideas Based on Successful Initiatives in Other Cities “Spread Hummus, Not Hate” Neighborhood Bus Tour
“If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech… - Justice Louis Brandeis (Whitney v. California, 1927)