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Faith communities come together to protest anti-Muslim Metro bus ad

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Taking clear advantage of the American constitutional right to free speech, Pamela Geller, an outspoken opponent of Islam, has embarked on another anti-Islam Metro bus ad campaign. The ad depicts photos of Adolf Hitler with an Islamic leader, Haji Amin al-Husseni. The ad reads in bold letters, “Islamic-Jew Hatred: It’s in the Qur’an”. Geller, who is the co-founder of American Freedom Defense Initiative and the author of the book, “Stop Islamization of America”, took out an anti-Islam Metro bus ad campaign in 2012 which said, “In Any War Between the Civilized Man and the Savage, Support the Civilized Man, Support Israel”. A court battle decided that the ad is protected under freedom of speech and WMATA was obligated to run the ad

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On Monday, an interfaith coalition representing ten different faith groups which included, Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Sikh, Unitarian Universalist and Zoroastrian, held a peaceful protest at the Rockville Metro Station to counter Geller’s anti-Islam ad. A statement issued by the Montgomery County Faith Community Working Group, said, “We stand united against all misinterpretations of the Quran as of all scripture that divide and misguide public sentiment toward prejudice and hatred. We seek to understand the Quran and all sacred works for the enlightenment they offer.”

In an interview with Patch, Rev. Mansfield Kaseman, the Interfaith Community Liaison in the Office of Community Partnerships, said, “For me, this is hate speech. But according to the court, it’s freedom of expression. We will not be critical of the Metro for running them. They’re required to do that legally. On the other hand, my concern is that they are appealing to ignorance, to insecurity that many people carry with them. So this triggers further hate.”

All Dulles Area Muslims (ADAMS) also issued a statement and expressed that they are “saddened by the placement of ads by the American Freedom Defense Initiative.” The organization called on “people to do good deeds by learning about one another and engaging in Interfaith dialogue and community service.”

In defense of the ads, Geller told WJLA news, “My intent is leapfrog over a media that is not even-handed, that is advancing the propaganda against the Jewish state."

The ad is set to run for four weeks on 20 Metro buses.

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