An Islamic advocacy group is currently circulating 20 advertisements on Washington, D.C., buses that show a Christian, Muslim and Jew agreeing on a verse from the Quran.
The advertisements were recently plastered on 20 metro buses by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a national advocacy organization for Muslim civil liberties. The posters show a Christian man, a Jewish man, and an Islamic woman all agreeing on verse 2:16 from the Quran.
"Verily, those who have attained to faith, as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians … all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds – shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve," the verse reads.
The advertisements, which will circulate throughout the D.C. area for one month, were created by the CAIR in response to advertisements recently distributed by well-known Islamic critic Pamela Geller and her far-right group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative.
Geller's advertisements, which were also plastered on 20 D.C. buses, showed a photo of Adolf Hitler talking with Haj Amin al-Husseini, the head mufti of Palestine from the 1920s to the 1940s. The photo is accompanied with the caption: "Islamic Jew-Hatred: It's In the Quran," adding, "Two-thirds of all U.S. aid goes to Islamic countries. Stop racism. End all aid to Islamic countries."
CAIR's Maryland spokeswoman, Zainab Chaudry, told the New York Daily News that the purpose of their advertisements was to counteract Geller's negative message with a positive one. "Our goal is not to necessarily stop hate speech, because we believe in freedom of expression, but to counteract hate speech with good speech."
CAIR's national communication director, Ibrahim Hooper, added to the New York Daily News that his group felt they had to respond to Geller's advertisements in some way. "We'd rather spend all our time promoting a positive message of interfaith understanding and not respond to her constant hate messaging … But if she's going to cross the line, we have an obligation as the leading advocacy group for Muslims in America to step in and set the record straight."
Geller said that she is planning more advertisements for the D.C. area that will target what she believes to be CAIR's connection with the Hamas movement, a Palestine-based Sunni Islamist organization.