In a move that is certain to further escalate already stretched racial tensions in America's most cosmopolitan city, some 100 New York City buses will soon carry jarring anti-Islamic posters which feature photos of an ISIS beheading victim, his alleged executioner, Adolf Hitler, declare "Yesterday's moderate [Muslim] is today's headline" and proclaim "It's not Islamophobia, it's Islamorealism" as part of an "educational campaign." According to the NY Daily News, the ads, paid for by flame-throwing blogger Pamela Geller, at a cost of $100,000, are intended as an “education campaign” to warn of the “problem with jihad” and Islamic sharia law, Geller said.
Below are some of the ads which will soon grace 100 buses and at the entrances of the E. 59th St. station and the Columbus Circle station.
In one poster, a photo from the video in which U.S. journalist was killed is sits next to a photo of a British man suspected of being the militant behind the ISIS beheadings.
A second ad contains a 1940s photo of a pro-Nazi Palestinian leader chatting with Adolf Hitler under the headline, “Islamic Jew-Hatred: It’s in the Quran.”
Pamela Geller, creators of the anti-jihad subway ads, speaks at an MTA meeting two years ago.
As Al Arabiya reports, the ads also target the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights group based in Washington D.C. by linking it to Hamas.
“Geller is a known hater and there’s no law in this country that forces her to tell the truth,” Corey Saylor, a CAIR spokesman told the Daily news, adding that the group had considered suing Geller but did not think it was worth it.
Geller's message, however, does not come unopposed and it is none other than new NYC Mayor de Blasio who spoke up against Geller's campaign:
“These ads are outrageous, inflammatory and wrong, and have no place in New York City, or anywhere. These hateful messages serve only to divide and stigmatize when we should be coming together as one city,” New York City Mayor de Blasio told the U.S. daily.
“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 said.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority admitted that the ads will offend public-transportation passengers but had no choice but to allow them.
It tried to block Geller several years ago when she wanted to post ads in the subway that labeled enemies of Israel as “savages.”
The MTA said the ads violated its “no demeaning” language policy. But a judge ruled that rejecting the ads violated Geller’s First Amendment rights.
“If you read the court decision on this, our hands are tied,” said MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg.
Following that battle, the MTA updated its policy to force all viewpoint ads like Geller’s to contain language clearly stating that the opinions expressed are not the transit agency’s. Geller’s new ads will contain the disclaimer.
Because surely every stunned observer of the iconic picture of US journalist Foley about to be beheaded, plastered on NYC mass transit, will stop and carefully read all the way to the fine print. And some still wonder why the animosity between middle-eastern religious groups leads to ever rising animosity and ever greater bloodshed.