Controversial Anti-Jihad 'Savages' Ad to Appear in NYC Subways

Controversial advertisements decrying "Jihad," or holy war, are due to be posted in the New York City subway system on Monday, Sept. 24. The posting of the advertisements comes at a sensitive time, as Muslims around the world have been protesting an anti-Islamic film.

A controversial anti-Jihad ad posted by the American Freedom Defense Initiative on a San Francisco public MUNI bus.
A controversial anti-Jihad ad posted by the American Freedom Defense Initiative on a San Francisco public MUNI bus. | (Photo: Twitter/Nik Koehler)

The controversial advertisement, which reads "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad," will be posted in 10 subway stations throughout New York City's borough of Manhattan.

Conservative blogger Pamela Geller, executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, is sponsoring the ad campaign.

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Geller, who previously headed the campaign to stop the building of the "Ground Zero Mosque" near the site of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, recently won a court order to post the advertisements throughout New York City.

Geller went to a federal judge after the NYC Metropolitan Transportation Authority initially rejected the advertisements, saying they had "demeaning" language.

"The judge recognized our intention but found our attempt to be constitutionally deficient," Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Aaron Donovan told NBC News.

"As a result, under our existing ad standards as modified by the injunction, the MTA is required to run the ad," he added.

According to The Associated Press, Geller called NYC's approval of the ads a "victory of the First Amendment," adding that she is not concerned with the possible riots which could spark as a result of her advertisements.

"If it's not a film it's a cartoon, if it's not a cartoon it's a teddy bear," Geller told The Associated Press. "What are you going to do? Are you going to reward Islamic extremism? I will not sacrifice my freedom so as not to offend savages."

Additionally, Geller told NBC News that the ads are not necessarily targeting Muslims.

"There are no Muslims in my ad. There is no Islam in my ad," she said.

Many are taking offense to the advertisement, including Muneer Awad of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, who argues the advertisements "promote bigotry in New York."

"They're not only anti-Muslim, they're offensive to a large number of people, especially people who know the history of the word 'savages,'" Awad told NBC News.

The advertisements were also posted on buses in the city of San Francisco, Calif., in early September. The buses have also come equipped with a disclaimer next to the advertisements, but regardless several street artists have used their classic medium of spray paint to cover the word "Jihad," often times replacing it with the word "racism."

Geller filed suit in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 20 to have the advertisements put up on the capital's transit system buses after transit authority officials deferred her request due to the current violence in the Middle East.

The advertisements come at a delicate time in global affairs, as currently thousands of Muslims are protesting throughout the Middle East, Asia and in some parts of Europe against the film "Innocence of Muslims," which they view as offensive to the prophet Muhammad.

The protests have resulted in the deaths of 30 people in seven countries, according to The Associated Press. The violence includes attacks on U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya and the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

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