Cultural organizations denounce ads that call jihad ‘savage’

These ads were posted in 10 subway stations.

A coalition of organizations is speaking out against new ads posted in subway stations Monday that refer to jihad as “savage” and call for support of Israel.

The Interfaith Center of New York, joined by other groups including the Cordoba Initiative and Jews Against Islamophobia, are denouncing the ads, calling them “dangerous” and “hate speech.”

The posters, paid for by political advocacy group American Freedom Defense Initiative, read, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

“It’s not only a problem because we feel it is hate speech aimed at a specific group, but also dangerous because it uses strong language like the word ‘savage,’” Annie Rawlings of the Interfaith Center of New York said.

Rawlings said the ad is also raising concerns about the safety of Muslims and Sikhs, who are often mistaken for Muslims.

“We’ve already seen violent actions against those groups — we just saw the Wisconsin [Sihk temple] shootings, and so it’s not a great stretch to be worried about it,” Rawlings said. “There are always people who are easily inflamed, and I think it’s not only troublesome speech, it’s dangerous speech.”

“May God forgive those behind this ad for any intent to create hostility,” Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, chairman of the Cordoba Initiative, added. “May God open their hearts so that they work with us to eliminate savagery.”

Pamela Geller, executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, told Metro last week that the ads are not directed at all Muslims.

“It refers to those who rejoice in the murders of innocent civilians. The war on Israel is a war on innocent civilians,” Geller said.

But Rawlings fired back that the word “jihad” has taken on a negative connotation associated with the entire Muslim community.  

“The problem with hate speech is that it’s unnuanced,” Rawlings said. “I think the ad is one that makes a direct connection in peoples’ minds because people associate the word ‘jihad’ with Muslims.”

On September 10, the organizations denouncing the ads sent a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg urging him to “stand up to the politics of fear” and publicly speak out against the posters.

The MTA initially rejected the ads, but was forced to post them after losing the case in federal court in July on grounds of free speech. The Interfaith Center of New York said Bloomberg still could have issued a “reminder that New Yorkers have come together in times of crisis, across many lines of diversity.”

“It’s important to remember how we have and do come together and to not let groups inflame our senses of suspicion about each other, which is what the ads do,” Rawlings said.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor reveals new tech hub Digital.NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Digital.NYC on Wednesday, a new online platform aimed at connecting all things tech in New York City. The public-private partnership…

Local

Falling debris hits two men in Times Square

Two men were taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after being hit by falling debris from 110 feet above Times Square. Nancy Greco from the…

Local

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough accused of misusing campaign…

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough has been indicted on state and federal charges for allegedly withdrawing campaign funds as cash for personal use. Scarborough, a Democrat…

News

U.S. Secret Service director Pierson resigns under fire

U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned under fire on Wednesday after a series of security lapses came to light.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, Oct. 1: 'Criminal Minds,'…

The "Criminal Minds" team adds some supernatural assistance, as the "Ghost Whisperer" herself, Jennifer Love Hewitt, joins the show. She's playing an FBI agent, but you never know when someone…

Music

See the most popular Pandora station in your…

Who knew Bachata music was so popular?

The Word

The Word: Twilight just won't die

You thought our "Twilight" days were behind us, didn't you? Well think again. Series creator Stephenie Meyer (who would rather you not ask about "Twilight"…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

NFL

Rex Ryan fields more questions about Geno Smith,…

The idea Geno Smith will be replaced by backup Michael Vick appears to be all smoke, as the Jets are intent to ride with their second-round draft pick.

NFL

Will Beatty playing like franchise left tackle again…

Left tackle Will Beatty, who is the elder-statesman of Giants’ line, has turned around his season and become a consistent force on Manning’s blindside.

NFL

John Conner back with Jets for second stint

He'll be back. It's "Terminator 2" for the Jets, who brought back John Conner to the team on Tuesday after placing fullback Tommy Bohanon on…

NFL

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry…

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry Donnell will stay solid

Career

Creating a support system for minority women in…

When Kathryn Finney founded digitalundivided — an organization devoted to engaging minority communities with the tech world — she didn’t know quite what to expect.…

Sex

We can learn a lot from animals about…

There’s a lot we can learn about love from the birds and the bees — and the chickens, monkeys and squirrels that we share the…

Style

Saint Laurent

Our review of the Saint Laurent Spring '15 show at Paris Fashion Week.

Style

Céline: Paris Fashion Week Spring 2015

Our review of the Celine Spring '15 show during Paris Fashion Week.