Executives at The New York Times have rejected a full-page anti-Islam advertisement that mimicked a controversial anti-Catholic advertisement they published on March 9.
According to a Mar. 13 letter sent by the Times to the ad’s sponsor, anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller, the $39,000 anti-Islam ad was rejected because “the fallout from running this ad now could put U.S. troops and/or civilians in the [Afghan] region in danger.”
Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League, accused the Times of having a double standard and told The Daily Caller that The Time’s was based on “either [anti-Catholic] bigotry or fear [of Islamic violence], and they’ve painted themselves into that corner.”
Donohue said the frequent claims of intellectual honesty by Times employees would compel them to address the double standard if they weren’t “shameless.”
TheDC asked Robert Christie, the Times’ senior vice-president for corporate communications, if the Times’ decision is a surrender to violence and also an incentive for additional threats of violence.
However, Christie declined to discuss the paper’s decision, and referred TheDC to the letter sent by the Times to Geller and her organization, Stop the Islamization of Nations.
The Times’ letter included a commitment to “consider the ad … for publication in a few months,” and the claim that “we publish this type of advertising, even those we disagree with, because we believe in the First Amendment.”
Geller scoffed at the Times’ conditional commitment. She told TheDC she believes the Times will never publish a criticism of Sharia, or Islamic law, because “when is it ever a good time to blaspheme under the Sharia?”
On multiple occasions since the 1980s, Islamist groups have murdered fellow Muslims and non-Muslims following Western criticism of Sharia, Islamic texts, or even the Western production of cartoons about Islamic violence.
At least two U.S.-based Muslims have been jailed for threatening American media professionals who produced criticism of Sharia. In 2010, a U.S. cartoonist, Molly Norris, went into hiding to evade threatened Islamist attacks.
In February, groups of Afghans — reportedly led by Taliban-aligned Imams angry at the burning of Korans by American soldiers — spurred street riots that killed roughly 24 Muslim Afghans.
When the Times ran an anti-Catholic ad produced by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, however, no one was attacked.
That ad called on Catholics to quit their religion, and asked “why send your children to parochial schools to be indoctrinated into the next generation of obedient donors and voters? Can It you see how misplaced your loyalty is after two decades of sex scandals involving preying priests, church complicity, collusion and cover-up going all the way to the top…Join ‘those of us who put humanity above dogma.”
According to Donahue, “no rational person can maintain there is anything but injustice” in the Times’s decision to run the anti-Catholic ad but not Gellar’s anti-Islam one.
Geller designed her anti-sharia ad to mimic the Mar. 9 anti-Catholic ad in appearance, tone, structure and words.
For example, Geller’s ad called on Muslims to quit their religion, and asked “Why put up with an institution that dehumanizes women and non-Muslims … [do] you keep identifying with the ideology that threatens liberty for women and menaces freedom by slaughtering, oppressing and subjugating non-Muslims… Join those of us who put humanity above the vengeful, hateful and violent teachings of Islam’s ‘prophet.’”
Geller’s mimicry also included a paragraph that asks Muslims to “think of the acute misery, poverty, needless suffering, social evils and deaths that can be laid directly a the door of Islam’s antiquated doctrine that commands jihad and genocide.”
That passage replicates a paragraph from the Time’s anti-Catholic ad, that declared “think of the acute misery I poverty I needless suffering I unwanted pregnancies I overpopulation, social evils and deaths that can be laid directly at the door of your church’s pernicious doctrine that birth control’ is a sin and must be outlawed.”
The co-director of the anti-Catholic group, Annie Laurie Gaylor, declined to comment to TheDC.