An Islamophobic ad that suggest Muslims want to kill Jews is protected by the First Amendment, says a federal Manhattan judge, and therefore the MTA must run them. A description of the ad, per the New York Times:
The ad shows a man with a scarf across his face next to the words, “Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah,” attributed to “Hamas MTV.” Below that, it reads: “That’s his Jihad. What’s yours?”
The ruling comes after Pamela Geller’s pro-Israel group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, sued the MTA last October when the MTA refused to put up the sign. While the MTA approved Geller’s other ads, it was concerned that this one would incite violence against Jews.
However, Judge John G. Koeltl doesn’t think there’s enough evidence that the message would provoke violent action. “While the court is sensitive to the MTA’s security concerns, the defendants have not presented any objective evidence that the Killing Jews advertisement would be likely to incite imminent violence,” he wrote in his decision.
The MTA has 30 days to consider an appeal, after which the agency will be “granted a preliminary injunction ordering the transportation authority to run the ad,” the Times reports.
“These hateful messages serve only to divide and stigmatize when we should be coming together as one city,” said Monica Klein, a spokeswoman for Mayor de Blasio. “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.”
An MTA spokesperson said, “We are disappointed in the ruling and we are reviewing our options.”
(Photo: Stephen Rees)