NYC Bus Ads Are Latest Salvo in Pamela Geller’s Jihad

NYC Bus Ads Are Latest Salvo in Pamela Geller’s Jihad

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The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), an organization devoted to countering what it calls “Islamic supremacism,” recently submitted an ad for New York City buses. The proposed poster states: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” While the unnamed enemy in the ad is any critic of Israel’s policies, the conflict evokes the simplistic Huntingtonian narrative pitting Islam against the West. The promotion of this narrative is emblematic of AFDI’s work, and contributes to a dangerous, fear-inspiring myth about the nature and intentions of the Muslim community at home and abroad.

In this case, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) decided to reject the AFDI’s advertisement because their use of the word “savages” was not compliant with the agency’s advertising standards. In September 2011, the AFDI filed suit in the federal district court in Manhattan. On July 20, the court ruled that the MTA’s refusal to run the ad violated the group’s freedom of speech. The court granted the agency 30 days to appeal or to amend its standards such that the AFDI’s ad would not be barred from display. The MTA chose to rewrite its rules. Pamela Geller, the Executive Director of the AFDI, now intends to place these posters in subways in New York, California, Washington, D.C., and on New York Metro-North.

When the court upheld Geller’s right to place hate-inspiring ads in New York City public buses, I celebrated America’s encompassing freedom of speech. But I was also disheartened on behalf of the millions of patriotic Americans who would be scrutinized and censured for their religion, race, or lifestyle. Thanks to the media, the ad’s unqualified use of the term “jihad,” a widely-misconstrued Arabic term meaning “struggle,” would more broadly be associated with Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians.

The lack of cultural awareness aside, the idea propagated by the AFDI ad, that Muslims are involved in a vast number of acts of violence targeting the West, is woefully flawed. Terrorism and acts of violence of any kind by any group are unjustified. An FBI study of terrorist attacks from 1980 to 2005 revealed that of all acts of terror on American soil, Islamic extremists were only responsible for 6 percent. Timothy McVeigh was not Muslim; neither are members of the Ku Klux Klan. These results were corroborated by National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael Leiter, who said that violent extremists make up an “absolutely tiny…a minute percentage” of the American Muslim community.

Europe, too, has not experienced a significant number of successfully executed (or even foiled) attacks conducted by Muslims. According to Europol, the European Union law enforcement agency, Muslims have only been implicated in 0.4 percent of terrorist attacks in the past six years. In other words, 99.6 percent of attacks in Europe were carried out by other groups, such as separatist factions. In fact, out of the 174 terrorist attacks in 2011, only one was conducted by an Islamist. It’s also a relief to know that terrorist activities in Europe generally have been progressively declining over the past six years.

Furthermore, the results of a Gallup poll released in August 2011 demonstrate that American Muslims are more likely than any other religious group to hold the view that acts of violence against civilians are never justified whether they are carried out by the military (78 percent) or individual actors (89 percent). To put the results in context, the next largest group to denounce acts of violence carried out by the military against civilians are Atheists, at 56 percent. Additionally, the same poll revealed that American Jews are more likely than other religious groups to hold the view that American Muslims have no sympathy for al-Qaida, at 70 percent.

So the conflict between “savages” and “the civilized man,” a narrative habitually advanced by the AFDI, can validly be called into question. Setting aside the factual dubiousness of the narrative, though, what’s the big deal? Well, for one thing, American Muslims have increasingly been targeted in hate crimes, with an increase of 50 percent in the last year. They have experienced intense difficulty in establishing houses of worship, and have been the targets of ongoing attempts to impose meaningless yet discriminatory anti-Shariah legislation in the United States. The AFDI also propagates notions of a false dichotomy between Islam and the West, a division that is easily challenged by the millions of Western Muslims who comfortably synthesize and are true to both identities.

Sadia Ahsanuddin is a Research Associate for the Liberty & National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice.


 

Comments

 
Anonymous

Posted Aug 10 2012

What about the statistics on jihad attacks in Muslim majority countries? How does the level of violence there compare to the US?

Anonymous

Posted Aug 10 2012

The article specifically addresses the conflict between Islam and the West.

As for Muslim countries, many a dangerous ideology has sadly run amok there.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 10 2012

Sunni Muslim terrorists committed “about 70 percent” of the 12,533 terrorist murders in the world last year, according to a report by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). So much for the "religion of peace."

Anonymous

Posted Aug 10 2012

Sunni Muslim terrorists committed “about 70 percent” of the 12,533 terrorist murders in the world last year, according to a report by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). So much for the "religion of peace."

Anonymous

Posted Aug 10 2012

What a load of taquiyya!

Anonymous

Posted Aug 10 2012

Also, consider that many of the terrorist acts in the US are committed by ecology groups which target government and commercial buildings, they don't target civilian populations. Whereas Muslim terrorists aim to kill and maim as many civilians as possible. This is true in Europe as well where separatist groups attack government buildings but not civilians.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 10 2012

I disagree with what you have stated and fully support the ads. You must be asleep at the wheel if you think that the attacks by islamists around the world are minuscule. They are growing daily and the truth needs to be told. The world needs to wake up out of its slumber. The radical islamists have openly stated what their intentions are. I would go further and say stop immigration of all muslims as the majority do not intergrate and once they arrive in a western country they then start agitating for special concessions and the introduction of sharia law. If they want that then stay in their own countries and leave us to get on with our lives and the lifestyle we have chosen

Anonymous

Posted Aug 10 2012

"Thanks to the media, the ad’s unqualified use of the term “jihad,” a widely-misconstrued Arabic term meaning “struggle,” would more broadly be associated with Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians. "

What a liar!

Jihad, above all, is war against the infidel to bring about the rule of Islam over the entire world. Any other meanings are mere analogies. Before 9/11 Muslims and their submissive toadies could get away with such BS. But Americans started studying the political ideology known as Islam in order to get to know the enemy that attacked us that day, and what we have learned about these enemies is not pretty. Peddle your lies to the illiterate fools who make up the bulk of your supporters.

If you are a Muslim who wants to reform Islam by deleting the incitement to jihad from the Koran (see the prophetofdoom.net website for details) then welcome to America. We love you and wish to live in peace with you.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 10 2012

Maybe another ad should go up next to it with a count of civilians killed in the wars Geller cheerleads in Iraq and Afghanistan and drone strikes, assassinations, etc in Pakistan, Yemen, Iran, etc...

Anonymous

Posted Aug 10 2012

A sniveling whiner says, "Maybe another ad should go up next to it with a count of civilians killed in the wars..."

Tell it to Obama.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 10 2012

Your propaganda about Islam, Jihad, and Islamic Law, Sharia, is not acceptable. At least do a little reading. How about this, for example: Sharia says that the following "Things" are not acceptable to Muslims: Pigs, dogs, blood, urine, feces, semen...and Kuffars. That means that every Muslim must regard any Kuffar, or non-Muslim, as being the same as pigs, dogs, urine, and feces. That means they regard most Westerners as equal to dog poop. And, notice how non-muslims are regarded as not even people - they are "Things"!! And you are trying to tell us that Sharia is this wonderful law, and is better than our Constitution? Begone! We don''t want you here, if you advocate Jihad and Sharia. It is not acceptable, it is not even human! Sharia is totally unacceptable for civilized people, it is a brutal, ignorant, set of criminal behavior, only fit for savages.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 10 2012

To the "tell it to Obama" commenter. The issue at hand here is not Obama (who is, of course, ultimately responsible for all military actions since his presidency started) but the vile anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigot Pamela Geller. If Pamela Geller thinks that murdering civilians is acceptable because they are "savages" then her racism needs to be called out.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 11 2012

Bravo to Pam Geller and her supporters. Sharia must never take hold here, not one inch!

Anonymous

Posted Aug 11 2012

PAMELA GELLER SUPPORTS GENOCIDE

Anonymous

Posted Aug 11 2012

what a load of rubbish about the increase in hate crimes against muslims, the jews have more hate crimes committed against them in US polls, and anything this muslim writes about those who are fighting Sharia being allowed in the US, is just self serving, is it not? she's not an unbiased observer , has an axe to grind against Miss Geller and the anti islamisation movement, why should we believe one word of this tripe,.....and over 17, 000 individual attacks committed by muslims on innocent people worldwide is a damnning testimony against this womans lies! why has she even been published? she should shut the hell up!

Anonymous

Posted Aug 11 2012

I guarantee you Geller is grinding an axe, preparing for a massive Kristallnacht of Muslim-hunting.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 11 2012

violence is a reflection of human nature before it's a reflection of a religion tho, right? think about the Crusades, colonialism+White man's burden, the Gujarat riots in India, and the occupation of millions of people in the West Bank and Gaza. you can't say these are the products of religion.

next, about the percentage of terrorist actions perpetrated by Muslims worldwide: agreed with the author that terrorism of any kind is unjustified. BUT so is violence of any kind against civilians (which is also what Islam explicitly states, incidentally). think about the number of civilians killed by our government. more than 100,000 in Iraq, tens of thousands in Afghanistan, and thousands more in Pakistan and Libya. so much for "liberation" and "the spread of democracy."

Anonymous

Posted Aug 11 2012

what about Hindu girls routinely raped in Pakistan and Coptic Christian girls raped after seeing their Churches being burned down in Egypt. that is jihad. read Koran yourself sadia. who are "the cursed ones?"
This biased articles reeks of moral inversion and lies, this is the sharia.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 11 2012

Let me get this straight. The 20,000+ terrorist’s attacks committed by muslims since 2011 were committed where? On the moon? Good to know.
SarahSue

Anonymous

Posted Aug 11 2012

Let me get this straight. The 20,000+ documented terrorist attacks by muslims since 2001 and the 2500 already killed during this year’s ramadan happened where? On the moon? Good to know.
SarahSue

Anonymous

Posted Aug 14 2012

I am Jewish and deplore the San Francisco bus saying because it promotes hatred and stereotyping. Two wrongs do not make one right.

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