Shalom Life | April 17, 2014

Group Sues Detroit for Saying No to 'Leaving Islam' Ads

Provocative campaign deemed unfit for Detroit by city transit.

By: Dan Verbin

Published: May 28th, 2010 in News » World

Group Sues Detroit for Saying No to 'Leaving Islam' Ads

An American group calling itself Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) is generating attention for its campaign of provocative ads so far seen on buses in Miami and New York. The ads, entitled “Fatwa on your head?” ask “Is your community or family threatening you? Leaving Islam?” They feature a link to a website “for people who are thinking of leaving Islam or are leaving Islam and need resources” to protect themselves.

The controversy seems to be further heating up with SIOA’s attempt to get their ads displayed on buses in Detroit, whose metropolitan area numbers the highest concentration of people with Middle Eastern backgrounds in the US. A quarter of a million Muslims live in nearby Dearborn and Detroit’s northern suburbs are home to a large Arab Christian population.

The bus authority in Detroit has told SIOA, run by Manhattan-based conservative blogger Pamela Geller and funded by online readership, that it has made the decision not to run their ads, prompting Geller’s organization to file a federal lawsuit this week in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Geller is alleging that the bus authority’s unwillingness to accept her ads is a violation of her free speech under the First Amendment. She has stated that she will take the cast all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

“It is against the law, and I tell you, those ads will go up whether they like it or not,” Geller told the Washington Times.

A similar reluctance to run the ads on the part of Miami’s transit authority occurred. However, a lawsuit initiated by Geller impelled the city to reverse its decision within less than 24 hours.

Geller, whose group is currently trying to stop a proposed mosque from being build near the site of the World Trade Center, told CNN that religious Muslims who are offended by the advertisements should “ignore it.”

She went on to say that “it’s not directed to them.”

In an interview with conservative Sean Hannity on his radio show, Geller said, “It’s time for Americans to stand up against the evil of Islamic jihadi terrorism and Islamic supremacism.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in New York called the ads “Islam bashing.”

“Islamaphobes are notorious for their cheap tactics that seek to marginalize American Muslims and divide communities,” CAIR Community Affairs director Faiza Ali said in a statement. “Pamela Geller uses the same tactics as tobacco companies, hiding the cancerous nature of her agenda behind a smokescreen of feigned concern. Geller is free to say what she likes, just as concerned community members are free to critique her tactics and movites.”

Geller hit back, calling CAIR an “unindicted co-conspirator Muslim-brotherhood front for Hamas-tied organizations.”

Geller is referring to the US Justice Department’s designation of CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case.

While controversy over the bus ads erupted in Miami, according to the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTI), New York has not received any complaints so far against the campaign, which is running for one month on NYC subway cars and buses.

“We have not gotten complaints on it, to be honest,” Aaron Donovan, a NY Transit spokesperson, told CNN.

He noted that in April, MTI ran subway ads of a group called whyislam.org, which advocates for the exploration of the Quran and attempts to “challenge popular stereotypes and misconceptions about Islam.”

Dawud Walid, the executive director of CAIR Michigan, told the Washington Times that even if the ads run in Detroit, he expects they will only cause “puzzlement” among Muslims.

“If she’s planning to put those Islamophobic ads in Detroit, she’s wasting her time,” he said.

Geller responded that the SIOA campaign has gone national to counter bus ads in Florida that encourage people to convert to Islam.

The controversy involves the question of whether Muslims are free to leave Islam without fear of reprisal, with Geller pointing to cases such as that of 17-year old Rifqa Bary, who ran away from her parents’ Ohio home and ended up staying with a Christian minister in Florida after she converted. During the custody dispute, her Muslim parents have denied that she will be in harm if she goes back home.

Geller cites a fatwa issued by Al-Azhar University in 1978 that stated, “This man has committed apostasy he must be given a chance to repent, and if he does not, then he must be killed, according to Sharia.”

However, Walid denied Geller’s reference, calling her a “well-known anti-Muslim bigot” in the Washington Times, and saying, “She makes no distinction between extremist Muslims and mainstream Muslims.”

In an interview with the NY Daily News, Geller told the newspaper that it doesn’t bother her if Muslims find the ads offensive.

“Will it bother Islamic supremacists? Yes,” she said.

Missouri Mayor 'Agrees' with Kansas Shooter Missouri Mayor 'Agrees' with Kansas Shooter TrendingWestboro Baptist Church to Picket Kansas Victims Funeral Westboro Baptist Church to Picket Kansas Victims Funeral TrendingChinese Tourists Flock to Israel Chinese Tourists Flock to Israel Trending
 

Hitler Wine For Sale at Glasgow Auction

April 17, 2014 | By Shaleni McBain
Hitler Wine For Sale at Glasgow Auction

The rare bottle of 'Fuhrerwein' is expected to fetch nearly US $3,500, though experts say it's not safe for drinking

Read More

Tel Aviv Named 'Best Beach Party Spot on Planet'

April 17, 2014 | By Viva Sarah Press
Tel Aviv Named 'Best Beach Party Spot on Planet'

Israel's White City triumphs over Cape Town, Ibiza, Goa and even Phuket as the world's No. 1 sun-water-sand destination

Read More

Meet the Israelis Looking to Arrive on Mars

April 17, 2014 | By Margarita Erbach
Meet the Israelis Looking to Arrive on Mars

The Mars One Project hopes to colonize Mars, and has offered four crews the chance to win a one-way ticket to the red planet

Read More

Man Creates Spiderman's Webshooter [VIDEO]

April 17, 2014 | By Shaleni McBain
Man Creates Spiderman's Webshooter [VIDEO]

In anticipation of the release of the Amazing Spiderman 2, hardware hacker Patrick Priebe has developed a real-life webshooter using an electromagnetic launcher

Read More

Scientists Discover That Romanian Troops Massacred Jews in 1941

April 17, 2014 | By Shaleni McBain
Scientists Discover That Romanian Troops Massacred Jews in 1941

After investigating a grave discovered in 2010, the finding 'proves' that the Holocaust took place in Romania

Read More

Startup Club: Bitstrips

April 17, 2014 | By Zak Edwards
Startup Club: Bitstrips

We look at the popular comicstrips starring YOU and your friends that have taken over your Facebook feed

Read More

Missouri Mayor 'Agrees' with Kansas Shooter

April 16, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Missouri Mayor 'Agrees' with Kansas Shooter

Dan Clavenger, the mayor of Marionville, Mo., said Frazier Glenn Miller, who killed three people at Jewish centers Sunday, was "nice and friendly"

Read More

‘The View’ Co-Hosts Past and Present to Reunite For Barbara Walters Farewell

April 16, 2014 | By Sarah Bauder
‘The View’ Co-Hosts Past and Present to Reunite For Barbara Walters Farewell

All 11 co-hosts of 'The View' will appear on stage together for the first time

Read More

More Headlines