WASHINGTON – A US Muslim civil liberties and advocacy group has announced its plans to erect its own advertisements in Metro stations to combat anti-Muslim hateful ads that equate Muslims with “savages.”
“We take these hate messages very seriously,” Nihad Awad, Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, told WUSA news channel on Friday, October 12.
“They need to be countered through collective American efforts to reject Islamic phobia and hate mongering and celebrate the forgiveness, free speech but also civil speech.”
The counter ad campaign was planned after a federal judge ruled that no one could stop the signs from going up in Washington metro stops, citing freedom of speech.
The ad campaign is the second in an American state following earlier campaign in New York city.
The new CAIR campaign was suggested following an inflammatory advertisement equating Jihad to savagery appeared in ten subway stations in New York City.
The provocative ads were sponsored by the pro-Israel American Freedom Defense Initiative.
One ad says, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.”
CAIR said the anti-Islam ads are hurtful and create a climate of fear during a time when mosques are being targeted, shot at, burned and vandalized.
Fighting islamophobic ads, CAIR decided to put up three 16 foot banners at Metro station to counter the anti-Muslim ads.
They’re going up next Tuesday at Glenmont, Georgia Avenue and U Street Metro stops.
The CAIR signs read a passage from Noble Qur’an saying: “Show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant.”
Getting the backing from nearly 130 organizations from all religions, CAIR purchased three ad spaces for $5400.
The CAIR signs will not be next to the hate signs but will be at three of the four stations where the anti-Muslim signs have been erected.
The signs will be up for four weeks.
Different Americans expressed support for the anti-hate campaign sponsored by CAIR.
“That’s appropriate,” Jonathan Thesley said.
“That’s humble, it shows humility and does not lash out,” he added.
Diane Tepfer was inspired on her train ride into making her own sign that reads ‘all human beings are created in the image of God.’
“I had to counteract this however I could. U street is my home.”
Many Christian and Jewish organizations have already expressed solidarity with Muslims by hanging pro-Muslim posters next to the provocative ads in New York to condemn intolerance and celebrate the city’s diversity.
Jacobs’ Rabbis for Human Rights – North America and the group Sojourners, led by the Christian author and social-justice advocate Jim Wallis, unveiled their campaigns last Monday.
The ad by Rabbis for Human Rights says, “In the choice between love and hate, choose love. Help stop bigotry against our Muslim neighbors.”
The Sojourners ad 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.”