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Counter Ads: Jews and Christians Strike Back

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Counter Ad: Rabbis for Human Rights, North America

Pamela Geller’s hate ads seem to have backfired. The latest round of  counter ads promoting love and tolerance are truly inspiring.

In addition to subway ads,  the progressive Christian group, Sojourners, is also sponsoring a billboard near the Toledo mosque that was the site of a recent arson attack. (H/T: Young & Free)

Pro-Muslim Subway Ads to Hang Near Anti-Jihad Ads

By ASHWAQ MASOODI, New York Times

Updated, 6:47 p.m. | Striking back against an anti-jihad advertisement in the subways widely perceived as anti-Muslim, two religious groups – one Jewish, one Christian – are taking out subway ads of their own to urge tolerance.

Rabbis for Human Rights – North America and the group Sojourners, led by the Christian author and social-justice advocate Jim Wallis, are unveiling their campaigns on Monday. Their ads will be placed near the anti-jihad ads in the same Manhattan subway stations, leaders of both groups said and transit officials confirmed. The groups said their campaigns were coincidental.

The ad by Rabbis for Human Rights turns the language of the earlier ad, placed by a pro-Israel group, on its head. The original ad says, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.” The ad by Rabbis for Human Rights says, “In the choice between love and hate, choose love. Help stop bigotry against our Muslim neighbors.”

“We wanted to make it clear that it is in response to the anti-Islam ad,” said Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights, whose members include rabbis from all streams of Judaism.

The Sojourners ad simply says, “Love your Muslim neighbors.”

Another Christian group, United Methodist Women, an affiliate of the United Methodist Church, has placed similar ads in the same 10 Manhattan stations where the anti-jihad appears. The ads, which went up on Wednesday, say, “Hate speech is not civilized. Support peace in word and deed.”

One of the Methodist group’s ads, in Times Square station, is posted right next to one of the anti-jihad ads.

The anti-jihad ads, placed by the American Freedom Defense Initiative in 10 Manhattan stations, went up only after the group successfully sued the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which wanted to ban them. They were posted late last month – in the wake, as it happened, of violent protests that had erupted in many parts of the Muslim world over an American-produced video ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad, and one of them was immediately defaced. They have been defaced at least 15 times since then, said Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for the authority.

Last week, the authority changed its advertising rules to ban ads that could “imminently incite or provoke violence or other immediate breach of the peace.”

Mr. Donovan said the new ads “are accepted and conform with our guidelines,” adding, “The M.T.A. doesn’t endorse any of the ads we carry.”

The executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, Pamela Geller, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new ads.

 A new subway ad by United Methodist Women is also a response to the anti-jihad ad.

Rabbi Jacobs said: “Geller thinks she is speaking for the entire Jewish community. We are a group of 1,800 rabbis and we want everyone to know that we have to work in partnership with the Muslim community and do not believe in dehumanizing them.”

Sojourners’ campaigns manager, the Rev. Beau Underwood, said, “An essential tenet of Christianity is to love our neighbors.” He added: “In the face of religious extremism, the best response is to treat others like we would want to be treated. Our ad campaign has a simple message that is at the heart of our faith.”

Sojourners, together with some local interfaith communities, recently put up “Love your Muslim neighbors” billboards in Joplin, Mo., where a mosque was burned in August.

Sojourners solicitation for donations says: “Hateful anti-Muslim ads only result in violence, hatred, and more fear. Everyone — regardless of race, religion, or creed — deserves to feel welcome & safe when riding public transit in the United States.”

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  • AJ

    Buddha, excellent comment!

  • AJ

    I think lord pork is a snake charmer.

  • Truth Hurts

    With regard to “continually at war”.
    This does need to be addressed, but not in a simplistic chauvinist agenda-driven manner.

    Human beings have always been in periods of varying calm & conflict (high & low intensity), & probably always remain so. This is not unique to one sub-section of humanity. It is an expression of our (relative) free choice. Conflict resolution & prevention are the tools of the peace-makers.

    With regard to the West, many of its citizens cannot see the schizophrenic difference in behavior, domestic internal peace & external war projection.

    With regard to conflict ideology, they are two a penny, especially among the elite i.e. Military-Industrial Complex e.g. Clausewitz, Full-spectrum Dominance & PNAC etc. Among ordinary people we have Social Darwinism imbibed e.g. “Survival of the Fittest”. Ayn Rand’s extremist individualism call is for brutal self-aggrandisement in a jungle environment, in which society only effectively exists for the limited purpose of protecting the money-makers.

    There are many states of savagery, altruism scares the hell out ’em.

  • UK Muslim

    This IS fantastic inspirational news! It must really hurt those who are trying to fan the flames of war between traditional faiths, especially a cannibalistic Abrahamic civil war.

    This shows to the world that the US community of faiths has said enough is enough, & will actually stand up to systematic organized generalised hate.

    Who knows, from the First world, perhaps eventually the message will seep into the Third world. Never give up hope on humanity.

  • Lordpork asked about which countries live in peace and suggested that it appeared to him that it was the Muslim countries that lived in a constant state of war.

    My perception is different. It seems to me that my entire life here in the US could be described as living in a country that was and is always at war. Soon after WWII came the Korean War and then the war in Vietnam.

    I remember “air-raid drills” in the seventh grade in which we all got out of our “desk-tables” and curled up under those “desk-tables” with our arms and hands covering our heads.

    The US presence, both military and CIA, in the vast majority of the world’s countries has grown dramatically and at great expense.

    My entire life, from 1948, has occurred in concert with the very successful people of Palestine becoming either prisoners in their own country or refugees. In all likelyhood this would not have happened or be happening without US money and weapons.

    In the meantime here at home my country, the US, incarcerates an incredible increasing number of its own citizens over the years of my life.

    Over 20% of US citizens live in poverty and perhaps 25% of its children are living in poverty.

    Hate groups have grown in number in the US. Fearful/hateful websites and Facebook pages abound in the US.

    I see it differently from Lordpork. The US does not have a monopoly on peace. In fact, it shamefully appears to me that the US is in one way or another, responsible for much of the violence and war in the world and right here at home. As a long-time student of the psychological defense mechanism known as “projection,” I have learned that the “savage” that too many Americans are seeing when looking at other people, is really ourselves.

    The path to peace, I think, is clear: to truly see the other, and not just, out of fear, ourselves.

  • Firdaus

    backfired? Yeah we all kinda saw that coming lolz XD

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