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
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.