"Why are anti-Israel ads fine but anti-jihad ads are not?" -- Faith J.H. McDonnell, IRD Religious Liberty Director
Contact: Jeff Walton, Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639 cell, jwalton@TheIRD.org
WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2012 /Standard Newswire/ -- Controversial advertisements calling for people to "Support Israel" and "Defeat Jihad," that first appeared last month in the New York City and San Francisco mass transit systems are coming to the nation's Capital.
The ad reads: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."
Sponsors of the ad maintain that they are protected under free speech rights, while the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) calls them "hateful." In New York, liberal religious activists denounced the ads for supposedly being anti-Muslim. Last week U.S. District Judge Mary Collyer ruled that the Washington, D.C. transit system must allow the advertisements.
IRD Religious Liberty Program Director Faith J.H. McDonnell commented:
"The ads are being misrepresented by Mainline Protestant church officials, government officials, and Islamist groups. The ad does not say that Muslims are savages. The dictionary defines 'savage' as 'lacking the restraints normal to civilized human beings' and 'savages' as 'brutal persons.' This perfectly describes the kind of brutal people who hacked to death the Fogel family in the West Bank: a mother, father, 11 year old, 4 year old, and 3 month old baby. Perhaps the ad should have included a photo of the slaughtered family to explain the term 'savage.'
"In the wake of the ad as well as the 'Innocence of Muslims' video, there have been ongoing demands that free speech should be curbed to prevent 'hurting the feelings' of groups like CAIR. There was no similar uproar over 2011 ads denouncing Israel and opposing U.S. military aid to which the ad responds.
"Many in the Religious Left and elsewhere have gone way past the point of moral equivalency. Now we are supposed to placate perpetrators of jihad and ignore their savage actions against Israel, Christians in countries like Nigeria and Sudan, and our own United States Ambassador, not to mention victimized non-jihadist Muslims. Perhaps critics of the ad can explain how better to denounce murderous jihad without offending groups like CAIR."