LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — An advertisement that will be plastered on the sides of 20 D.C. Metrobuses for the next month feature German dictator Adolf Hitler and call for an end to U.S. aid to Islamic countries.
“Islamic Jew-hatred: It’s in the Quran,” the ad states. “Two-thirds of all US aid goes to Islamic countries. Stop racism. End all aid to Islamic countries.”
Next to the text is a photo of Hitler and Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini, an early 20th century Palestinian Arab nationalist and Muslim leader, conversing. The ad calls el-Husseini a “staunch ally” of the Nazi party leader.
Metro has this to say about the ad:
“We are not in a position to comment on the views expressed in any third-party advertising. WMATA advertising space has been ruled by the courts as a public forum protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution, and we may not decline ads based on their political content. WMATA does not endorse the advertising on our system, and ads do not reflect the position of the Authority. There is a disclaimer statement printed on the advertising stating this.”
The website listed on the ad, “IslamicJewHatred.com,” redirects to PamelaGellar.com. Gellar is president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), which has been categorized as an anti-Islam hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
According to the AFDI website, the latest ad is in response to a “Jew-hating” ad that was seen on Metrobuses earlier this year. It read: “We’re Sweating April 15 So Israelis Don’t Have To! Stop US Aid to Israel’s Occupation!” and was sponsored by American Muslims for Palestine.
The Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) has launched a “multi-pronged response” to the latest ad, which is centered around an “interfaith message that promotes tolerance and understanding,” according to Zainab Chaudry, co-founder and chair of CAIR’s Maryland Outreach Office.
CAIR is planning its own ad campaign, and will encourage the D.C. Council to publicly condemn hate speech in the nation’s capital.
“We respect the right to free speech, we understand that people have different, diverse views,” Chaudry says. “But there’s a thin line between free speech and hate speech.”
She says the ad is an example of the kind of message that can “incite fear and anger toward Muslims” and can cause Muslims to feel uncomfortable and fearful in their own communities.