Interfaith group protests ad that says 'Support Israel. Defeat Jihad'
Opponents of the New York City subway ad unveiled their own ad on Tuesday.
September 25th, 2012
05:03 PM ET

Interfaith group protests ad that says 'Support Israel. Defeat Jihad'

By Kristina Sgueglia, CNN

(CNN) - Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders gathered in New York to protest advertisements that claim "Support Israel. Defeat Jihad" smattered across 10 city subways stations Monday and to debut a counter-ad that is due up in the same stations at the end of the week, according to the interfaith group.

"I am Muslim," explained Adem Carroll of the Muslim progressive traditionalist alliance on the steps of New York City's City Hall. "On a personal note, when I ride the subway and see messages smeared that demean me, I am scared."

Carroll is speaking about an advertisement originally rejected by New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority that reads: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."

The authority's decision to reject the ad, which was produced by a Judeo-Christian law firm, was overturned last month when a federal judge ruled the ad is protected under the First Amendment

Opinion: NYC subway ads are protected hate speech

A counter ad, funded by the United Methodist Women, reads "Hate speech is not civilized. Support peace in word and deed."

This ad will appear in the same 10 subway stations at the end of this week, according to the Harriet J. Olson, general secretary of the women's group. These posters are spread across Manhattan on almost all the lines, including popular commuter hub Grand Central Station, according to the Interfaith Center of New York.

The ad has stirred a conversation about the fine line between free speech and hate speech.

Opinion: Time for evangelicals to face Islamophobia

"This ad tipped the balance," the Rev. Chloe Breyer, executive director of the Interfaith Center of New York, said at the press conference Monday.

Political activist Pamela Geller, who promoted the ad with the help of her law firm the American Freedom Defense Initiative, told CNN's Erin Burnett last week, "The First Amendment protects all speech, not just ideas that we like, but ideas that we don't like."

She told CNN she submitted this ad last September when she says there was a series of anti-Israel ads running on the subway.

"I am running them because I can," Geller said.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

Maureen Silverman of Jews Against Islamophobia said Monday, "Pam Geller hides behind free speech to perpetuate hatred."

"We think these ads are racist," Silverman said.

"I respect the issue of free speech, but that also means we can condemn this speech," Silverman said.

"We condemn it if it incites violence and destruction, and this hate speech could do just that."

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Geller's ad was released nearly two weeks after an anti-Islam film produced in the United State led to protests throughout the Middle East, including an attack that led to the death of U.S ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

"Never underestimate the power of hate speech" said Linda Sarsour of the Arab American Association of New York, who issued a Twitter campaign against Geller using the hashtag #mysubwayad, encouraging the public to submit new ideas for subway ads.

"We speak hundreds of languages in New York; hatred is not one of them," Sarsour said at the gathering on City Hall steps.

The interfaith group is also calling on the MTA to use revenue from payments made to promote the American Freedom Defense Initiative's ad to fund the placement of human rights posters.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Interfaith issues • Islam • Israel • New York

soundoff (191 Responses)
  1. Good News 4 All

    Moses, Jesus, David and Muhammad were the truthful Messengers of the same
    one and only true GOD,
    if/when we understand it, we may live in Peace and Harmony, forever!

    Here are the most Clear and Solid Proofs:


    September 26, 2012 at 2:22 am |
    • sma Yaza

      yes you all do worship the same God; but what make this one the one true, their are many gods/goddesses.

      and if anything your god is evil and a lair

      September 26, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  2. scallywag151

    March 8th 2012, H.R.347 was signed by Muslim president Obama to end free speech at political protests!

    Just one more “chip” off the statue of liberty and what America stands for.

    You may not like what some people say, but regardless…it’s their right!!! For now…

    September 26, 2012 at 1:51 am |
    • I don't think so

      You're an ignorant twat

      September 26, 2012 at 6:41 am |
  3. Randall

    So if you're not in favor of Israeli policy, you're pro-jihad. Of course, makes total sense.

    September 26, 2012 at 1:44 am |
  4. AlienShark

    This ad does not prove anything bad about Muslims, NOR does it prove anything bad about Jewish people or Israel. All it proves is that the couple of i d i o t s who paid for the ad are filled with hate and their sentiments are not in line with American values.

    September 26, 2012 at 1:29 am |
  5. truth

    If their was no jews in this country or in the world than world woouldbeen much more peaceful

    September 26, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • Oshkosh

      Same would be more itrue if no Muslim in this world. At least Jews had advance the science for the comfort of humanity. What muslim has brought ; terrorism and ignorant!

      September 26, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • waco

      following your logic:

      If there were no people in the world there would be peace.

      Jihad is the problem.

      September 26, 2012 at 1:41 am |
    • sam stone


      September 26, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  6. bananaspy

    If you don't like a company or an organization's views, don't buy their product and don't buy into their agenda. All of this back and forth bickering about what we can and can't or should and shouldn't say is absurd. If a parrot was repeating hate speech, we would simply laugh and ignore it. That's exactly how we should treat it when it comes out of the mouth of an idiot.

    September 26, 2012 at 1:19 am |
  7. Ah religion the eternal reason to fight, kill and hate

    I am sure the one and only true god out of all the one and only true gods is so happy people fight, kill and hate over his/her/it one and only true "loving" godness.

    September 26, 2012 at 1:15 am |
  8. Paul B. Huntington III

    so i guess the groups that disagree with this add are pro "jihad"????

    thats like being for murders because jews says they are against murder.


    September 26, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • james

      The ad is hate promoting agenda directed by Pamela no doubt about it

      September 26, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • everettreb

      Oh you beat me to it.

      So I guess it's wrong now to be against religious war?

      September 26, 2012 at 1:17 am |
  9. zionitwits

    Just one more reason to blow up Israel.

    September 26, 2012 at 1:04 am |
  10. Josh

    All these weirdos protesting against what is essentially the truth...
    Wonder if they protested against Islamic terrorism when our ambassador was killed last week?

    September 26, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • AlienShark

      equating Islamic terrorism to Muslims is like equating Israeli foreign policy to Judaism. They both cause death to innocence stand completely against the religion they claim to defend. You are not that smart if you only see things inside of your little prism.

      September 26, 2012 at 1:35 am |
  11. Josh

    Wonder if there is any group called "Muslims against Anti-Semitism" ?

    September 26, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • AlienShark

      Arabs are semites genious.

      September 26, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • sam stone

      Alien: Some arabs are semites, some are not

      September 26, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  12. enuff

    Freedom of speech does not mean the advertising company MUST run the adverising. They can deny it... just like a resturant can refuse service. The ad company is just as responsible because it accepted their money..They do have the right to say "no". If I owned a small business and someone wanted to put a disgusting message on it's wall because of "free speech", we would have a major issue

    September 26, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • james

      Freedom of speech stops when you touch freedom and liberty of others,it is not an unlimited thing it always has limits

      September 26, 2012 at 1:18 am |
  13. OriginalPhantom

    PC is wrong.... always. Say what you like. If someone is offended and decks you.... that's a risk you take. But, in the US of A you have the right to express yourself. It is a right that is under siege. Under siege, among other places, right here in internet forums... like this one.

    September 26, 2012 at 12:45 am |
  14. Nfidel

    "On a personal note, when I ride the subway and see messages smeared that demean me, I am scared."

    Scared of what? That a verb might not be conjugated? They are WORDS. How bout this: when people tell me I can't say what's on my mind because they don't agree with it – I get scared.

    September 26, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • james

      Scared to be attacked just because some idiots think all Muslims are Jihadists

      September 26, 2012 at 1:19 am |
  15. why no outcry when last year there were anti israel ads?


    September 26, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  16. Billy

    Long Live Israel to those intent to destroy Israel better pre order your virgins latest supply data shows a back log to 6 year olds.

    September 26, 2012 at 12:28 am |
  17. Tia

    So now we're worried about offending Jihadists? I would have thought that rational, peace-loving people would be against wars of any kind. Supporting Israel is not being racist. Hating people based on their ethnicity would be racist. "Bomb Iran" or "Kill the Muslims" would be hate speech. "Support Israel" is no more hate speech then holding up a sign that says "USA #1" at the Olympics in China. BTW, perhaps CNN could do the world, or at least the ignorant people in America, a huge favor and run an article to let them all know what racism is (here's a hint: religion is what you CHOSE to believe in while race has to do with your ethnicity. You can CHANGE your religious beliefs, but you CANNOT change your race.)

    September 26, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • myweightinwords

      I think the point here is that not supporting Israel does not, in and of itself, mean that you support jihad. The two are not opposites. I happen to think Israel has a lot of messed up crap going on and needs to be held accountable. That does not mean that I support Muslims who kill in the name of their faith.

      I believe that many, if not most, Muslims are peace loving and do not seek to kill others. That doesn't mean I think Israel should cease to exist.

      September 26, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  18. Timothy Riches

    The ads, as written, are pretty hard-core, but are absolutely NOT racist. When will we see the end of that ridiculous equivocation? One can most certainly be vocally against Islam as a belief system and not even come close to being racist. Islamists (look up that word, please) have managed to link their belief system with race in the minds of so many liberals in the West that they dare not criticize what amounts to a hate group. 'Islamophobia' is another ridiculous, nauseating word that we must get over. Phobias are irrational fears, and there is nothing irrational about fearing the consequences of that belief system spreading where you live.

    September 26, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Mystic Rose

      Just the same as Calling Catholic Priests child rapist and pedophiles is not racist or wrong. Actually the church condones and supports these acts as a matter of practice. So for those who follow that faith to call the faith of another wrong is rather amusing to me. Of course I think all organized religion is a joke for the weak minded, but when you all start denouncing an others fairy tale while defending your own, I just laugh ot the stupidity.

      September 26, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  19. Shayna

    How is being against jihad hate speech? It's being against extremism – sounds right to me!

    September 26, 2012 at 12:11 am |
  20. Truthseeker

    Thank you leaders for coming together to defend peace and stop US funding to israel. A small and only country in middle.east with nukes

    September 26, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • Oshkosh

      Only country in middle east has democracy and treats its minority with respect . It has nuke but never said will wipe a country from the face of the earth. It is only to deter all the destructive neighbors!

      September 26, 2012 at 2:02 am |
1 2 3 4
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.