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WASHINGTON (RNS) A public opinion war on Middle East politics is playing out this spring in new advertising campaigns on public buses and in newspapers.

Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative deployed 15-foot-long ads on 20 buses in the Washington, D.C., system that equate opposition to Israel’s policies with Nazism. One ad shows the grand mufti of Jerusalem meeting Hitler during World War II.

Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative deployed 15-foot-long ads on 20 buses in the Washington, D.C., system that equate opposition to Israel’s policies with Nazism. One ad shows the grand mufti of Jerusalem meeting Hitler during World War II. Photo courtesy of American Freedom Defense Initiative

It began when the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) launched bus ads during the April Cherry Blossom Festival condemning U.S. aid to Israel because of that country’s continuing occupation of Palestinian territories.

Then on Monday (May 19), Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative countered by deploying 15-foot-long ads on 20 buses in the Washington, D.C., system that equate opposition to Israel’s policies with Nazism. One ad shows the grand mufti of Jerusalem meeting Hitler during World War II.

“The bus system is considered public space, so speech has First Amendment protections,” said Caroline Laurin, a spokeswoman for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. “We have no grounds to refuse ads due to their content.”

AMP board member Osama Abu Irshaid, who lives in northern Virginia, has seen the Hitler-mufti ad and finds it offensive and off point. “We don’t condone what was inflicted on the Jews by Hitler,” Irshaid said. “We condemn it as a crime against humanity. We denounce any crime against any human for their religion or ideology.”

Finally, Steven Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism took direct aim at Muslim groups in a full-page ad Wednesday (May 21) in The New York Times. Emerson’s group claims organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) “deny the truth behind the religious motivation of Islamic terrorists.”

Like Geller’s ads, the IPT ad is designed to circumvent the national media that, the ad said, enforce a “censorship agenda of Islamist groups.”

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for CAIR, brushed off both Geller’s ads and the IPT campaign as the ongoing “Islamophobia industry that seeks to blame Islam for any violence or terrorism anywhere in the world.” The goal of such ads, he said, is to “demonize Islam and marginalize American Muslims.”

Meanwhile, Hooper said, his group, which will mail anyone a copy of the Quran on request, has been quick to condemn outrages such as the Boko Haram kidnapping of schoolgirls in Nigeria and the death sentence issued in Sudan to a woman who converted to Christianity. Neither outrage, Hooper said, has anything to do with true Islam.

“These are acts by extremists who misuse Islam for their own violent ends.”

YS/MG END GROSSMAN

22 Comments

  1. No, I don’t really pay much attention to these ads and tend to think its a silly way of shooting one’s own foot, but I do raise an eyebrow when Mr. Hooper claims that the acts of Boko Haram and the Sudanese Government against the Christian woman sentenced to death don’t represent Islam and are extremist. Indeed, they are extremist, but extreme Islam often appears to be the norm these days. What has happened in Sudan is little different from what happens to other religious minorities in the Islamic world. Acts of violence and discrimination against religious minorities in countries from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia are common place and these minorities often have little protection from the law. These acts should not represent Islam, but unfortunately, they do, and until Muslims face up to the hard truth and do something about it, extremist will continue to tell the narrative of Islam.

  2. I’m glad to see any effort to educate the public
    about religion.

    The ad is certainly anti Islam. But it could also be seen as Anti Catholic. It is a shame the AD doesn’t zero in on Catholic criticism more clearly.

    Hitler’s Catholicism was a fundamental part of his hatred of Jews.

    “….the personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew.”

    - Adolf Hitler (following the
 position of Martin Luther), Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 11

    

”Hence today I believe that I am 
acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself
 against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”
    -Adolf Hitler
 (Mein Kampf)

    “bring to me those enemies who would not have me as their King and EXECUTE THEM IN FRONT OF ME.” – JESUS CHRIST (Luke 19:27)

    Ironically, all of this hatred
    is at the hands of the God of Abraham
    who started it centuries before.
    “Kill the Nonbelievers” – Yahweh (2 Chronicles 15:12-13)

    It will be a better world when this nonsense is left in the dustbin of history.

  3. Seems to me Muslims in general are constantly seeking attention, thats why they look differently, enjoy praying in public, create havoc typically in public yet when an ad is placed on a bus providing them with the much desired attention they object! Why? It seems the ad did not meet their positive infidel message portrayal guidelines. Any message geared to the infidels in general must be screened for the most misguided positive slant possible.

    And they say we dont understand islam, we sure do and we reject it like a super hot potato my Muslim friend, do you understand that? Great!

    • red, as a “Muslim in general” who probably “looks different” to you, I just want you to know that I really tried hard to understand your explanation of my ‘attention seeking’ motives. Unfortunately, in the end all I can say with any certainty is that, for reasons best known to yourself, you don’t like Islam and super hot potatoes.

      • @Rashid.M,
        red is out of line.
        Believers themselves are never to be mocked, attacked or injured. Nor should they be slandered by the bad behaviors of other believers.

        Islam itself, as a belief, is definitely worthy of mockery – but never the believers themselves.

        Perhaps some Muslims find that contradictory as they are so entwined in the religion they do not separate themselves from the beliefs. I sympathize somewhat – but it is the price of freedom.

  4. The stupid coming from the anti-muslim crowd burns hot enough to barbecue steaks over. Idiots like Pamela Geller do more to support Islamicist extremism than anything Al Queda puts out over various media. They confirm the most common lies spread by the Islamicists. That gung-ho Christian fundamentalists really are trying to wipe them out. Gary, red, Al Queda will send you their checks in 6-8 business days. They thank you for the support.

    The only difference between the Christian fundamentalists and Islamicists is access to political power. The Christians still have to deal with inconvenient democratic governments. The Islamicists have dictatorships in their pocket to play with.

    That being said, the American Muslims for Palestine can get bent as well. They spend more time moaning about Israel than they do examining the corrupt sellout mercenaries who lead the Palestinians. If the Palestinian leaders weren’t such craven toadies to Iran and the Arab League, there would already be a Palestinian state (or 2).

    • The Palestinian state would have happened by now if everyone just put down their weapons: The weapon is Religion.

      The parties of God have a veto over all progress toward peace:

      Zionists have Yahweh on their side in the name of the Covenant.
      Palestinians claim it is their holy land thanks to ALLAH
      Christians claim the Temple must be re-built by Israel to insure the return of JESUS.
      Everyone is eager for Armageddon because that is the ‘prophecy’.

      All of it is based on the ancient doodlings
      of barbarians who thought the world was flat.

      ALL Religion is an insult to humanity and a roadblock to all peace.

      • Max, the PLO (now Fatah), the people in control of the West Bank are considered radical and secular nationalists. Hamas, the Iran backed Fundamentalist wackadoodles were supported because they were the only other political group in the area with as many guns as Fatah.

        Israeli religious nutcases extolling the settlement of the West Bank are becoming very unpopular with the majority. Mostly due to the fact that they don’t serve in the IDF. IDF soldiers are becoming more hesitant to put their lives on the line over this nonsense.

        Its always been political. Religion is the Parmesan cheese topping to this pasta of trouble.

        • @Larry,
          I’m fully aware that politics is in the mix – absolutely. Power will always be the objective. Abandoning religion would NOT solve every problem.
          We still need to figure out how to deal with the problems of the world.

          Like a rat covered in plague religion’s true believers hide in the sewer waiting to return one day and destroy whatever progress is underway.

          Suicide bombers, assassins, killers of every stripe wait for the moment when a peace deal is near and then they move in – ALWAYS with God on their side.

          I say let us build a more secular society. Our only hope is for Jews, Muslims and Christians to backpedal out of this nonsense and start throwing off these chains.

          The Nuclear weapons are waiting for us to fail.

    • @Larry,
      The religious feel quite free to mock unbelievers like me – I am silenced.
      They do not think people like me should exist.

      I disagree with your verbal detente you seem to be proposing unless it is proposed by those who attack me. So far each religion wants me dead according to their gods.

      All religion should be mocked for what it is. Ridiculous.
      No person, Westerner or otherwise, should be denied their right to mock it freely.
      And I don’t agree that we who show our disdain for these barbaric beliefs do more harm by speaking up. We continue to find Atheists who are afraid of the religious everywhere around the world.

      Of course I reject any attack or prejudice AGAINST PEOPLE for their beliefs. Muslims and Catholics, Jews etc.., They have their right to believe whatever they want.
      But we must attack the beliefs themselves – and forcefully and publicly – and we must never surrender the right to do so.

      If a religious idea cannot survive the debate, it deserves to be mocked out of existence: Jewish, Christian, Muslim or anything else.
      These are extraordinarily destructive, groundless beliefs eating away at our civilization.

        • @Alice B.,
          WRONG. I AM SILENCED.
          You don’t know my real name for a REASON.

          “….bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King and Execute them in front of me.” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

          1. ATHEISTS ARE KILLED
          Atheists in 13 countries face execution under the law if they openly express their beliefs or reject the official state religion — Islam in all of these cases. read the 2013 edition of the Freedom of Thought report, published by the International Humanist and Ethical Union.

          
2. ATHEISTS CANNOT RUN FOR POLITICAL OFFICE.
          Not believing in God is political DEATH. Nobody will fund their campaigns. It is forbidden to be an Atheist and run for office in many states – even though it is unconstitutional.

          
3. ATHEISTS ARE NOT TRUSTED BY THEIR PEERS
          Discrimination against atheists IS completely unwarranted.
          Research shows that people are likely to distrust atheists as much as they do rapists.
          Rapists !?
          Atheists who apparently deserve this level of hatred:
          Hellen Keller, Thomas Edison, Gene Wilder, Rod Serling, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Gene Roddenberry, Doctors without Borders……

          
4. ATHEISTS ARE NOT RESPECTED BY THE COMMUNITY
          A group of military veteran nonbelievers was repeatedly heckled and berated in 2011 during a Memorial Day parade. Apparently supporting the troops DOESN’T INCLUDE ATHEISTS. Such stories are routine in the USA.

          
5. ATHEISTS CANNOT GET A JOB.
          Not believing in God MAKES IT HARD TO GET A JOB.
          Writing ‘Atheist’ in the religion box eliminates your chances 99% of the time. And NO, it is not fair to expect people to dishonestly put Christian or other! Lying doesn’t come naturally to honest people.

          
6. WE ATHEISTS LOSE CUSTODY OF OUR CHILDREN
          Atheist parents have been forced in many states to undergo “religious instruction” under an ex-spouse’s supervision.

          
7. ATHEISTS CAN’T VOLUNTEER!
          “Upstate Atheists”, a charity organization in Spartanburg, S.C was banned from DONATING alongside local charities which included religious organizations. Such treatment of Athiest organizations is routine.

          
8. WE ATHEISTS CAN’T GET FREE SPEECH
          Ads which defend the rights of Atheists are usually not allowed in most of the United States! Though the Freedom From Religion Foundation and American Atheists Association are finally beginning to change that.
          Progress has been too slow.

          
9. WE CAN’T PARTICIPATE IN NORMAL LIFE WITHOUT LYING…
          The Establishment Clause of the Constitution is supposed to ensure separation of church and state, there are countless breaches too numerous to list.
          Atheists are forbidden to say homilies, invocations or to even read POEMS in many Government meetings (where the prayer should never occur anyway) and everything is Christian or religious in nature.

          
10. WE CAN’T CREATE ORGANIZATIONS
          Most schools forbid secular organizations and ban secular groups from participating in school government.

          11. CAN’T BECOME A BOYSCOUT
          12. CAN’T BECOME A SHRINER
          13. CAN’T BECOME A GIRL SCOUT

          We are in the millions – yet we are silenced.
          And this must change.

          “The master will cut him to pieces.” – Jesus (Luke 12)

          No Jesus. I won’t let you.

  5. Max, you are the Magneto to my Professor X. :)

    I mean that as a sincere compliment. We both have the same goal but come at it from different backgrounds and approaches. I agree with your sentiments completely. I love what you do. It shakes a lot of people out of complacency. That is never a bad thing.

  6. The Great God Pan

    I can think of worse things in the world than Pam Geller and American Muslims for Palestine wasting their funds on a petty war waged via bus ads that nobody else really cares about. Spend away, guys!

  7. Looking at the bus ad from this article, the underlying and overt sentiments are clear enough – Islam and Muslims hate Jews, and they’re religiously compelled to. Two statements are offered to reinforce this view. Firstly, that hating Jews is in the Quran. No reference is given but none is necessary for the achievement of the aim. The message is targeted to the casual observer rather than the one who would question or take interest in any deeper explanations or rebuttals.

    The second statement, captioning the photo, states “…the leader of the Muslim world, Haj Amin al-Husseini”. Wow, that’s conclusive isn’t it? The leader of the whole Muslim world cozying up to Hitler. Except that, other than the prophet Muhammad(sa), I can’t imagine anyone being able to claim such a title. Who is Mr al-Husseini? It turns out he was a Sunni Muslim cleric who held the post of Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and later President of the Supreme Muslim Council (SMC). His appointment as Grand Mufti was made by the same person who ordered the establishment of the SMC – High Commissioner of British mandated Palestine, Herbert Samuel. Did the whole “Muslim world” know that Herbert was deciding their leader in Palestine? Just wondering.

    I think the most troubling and sad thing for me about this bus ad campaign are the poisonous tactics of dividing society through the complete demonization of a diverse group. How is this supposed to work? Where are these simplistic narratives of us versus them and good versus evil supposed to end up? That organisations who use such tactics have no time or conscience to highlight anything positive at all which binds Muslims with others, tells me that they are only eager for conflict and not genuinely interested in seeking peaceful outcomes. As such they are no better than the anti-Semitic, anti-West propagandists they claim to be fighting. A pox on both their houses.

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