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In this Monday, Jan. 30, 2012 photo, evening commuter traffic moves smoothly on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato) In this Monday, Jan. 30, 2012 photo, evening commuter traffic moves smoothly on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)  

Lawsuit forces Chicago to accept anti-jihad bus ads

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

The Chicago Transit Authority has agreed to display plain-spoken anti-jihad ads on city buses, following a lawsuit by the American Freedom Law Center.

City officials initially rejected the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s anti-jihad ads, even after the city accepted bus ads that advertized a sanitized portrayal of jihad as exercise and education rather than warfare.

The center’s new anti-jihad ads are “morally reprehensible — advocating racism, hatred and intolerance of cultural diversity,” said a Feb. 4 letter from Karen Seimetz, the general counsel of the city’s bus authority.

But the AFDI had already won two lawsuits “under the First Amendment of the United States,” Seimetz acknowledged.

Seimetz’s office did not return phone calls from The Daily Caller seeking an explanation of her “racism” and “hatred” claims.

“I am looking into suing them for their racist charge,” said Pamela Geller, founder of the AFDI.

“They are carrying water for the most extreme, brutal and racist ideology on the face of the earth. Oh the irony!” she said in a statement to The Daily Caller.

Geller’s five ads juxtapose advocates of Islamic rule with their statements.

The ads will be attached to 20 buses for $10,000.

Each ad includes a tagline “That’s his Jihad. What’s yours?”

The tagline is a direct response to a series of bus ads posted by a group of people affiliated with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Their December 2012 “MyJihad” public-relations campaign portrays Islamic war — jihad — as a peaceful exercise.

Jihad is “a concerted and noble effort against injustice, hate, misunderstanding, war, violence, poverty, hunger, abuse or whatever challenge big or small we face in daily life, with the purpose of getting to a better place,” according to the campaign’s website, MyJihad.org.

Those ads show people alongside peaceful statements, such as “#MyJihad is to build peaceful friendships across the aisle.”

Another ad shows a headscarf-wearing woman lifting a weight, alongside the statement, “#MyJihad: Modesty is not weakness — What’s Yours?”

In response, Geller’s ad campaign highlights jihad statements by Islamic advocates and leaders.

One ad shows Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Erdogan, alongside his 1997 statement that “The mosques are out barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets, and the faithful our soldiers.” His statement was a quote from a poem.

Another ad shows a picture of Nidal Hassan, an U.S. Army major who murdered 13 unarmed soldiers and civilians at Fort Hood in November 2009, alongside a quote from an eyewitness. Hassan was “reloading, firing again, reloading firing again, while screaming ‘Allahu Akbar,’” says the quote in the bus ad.

“Allahu Akbar” means “Allah is Supreme.”

Another ad shows Osama bin Laden alongside the burning Twin Towers. “‘The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam.’ That’s his Jihad. What’s Yours?” says the text.

Another ad shows a person wrapped in an Arab scarf, alongside a quote from from a TV program broadcast by Hamas, the Gaza-based affiliate of the Cairo-based Muslim Brotherhood. “Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah,” says the quote.

In a letter back to Seimetz, Geller’s lawyer slammed Seimetz’s claim of “hatred and “racism.”

“You provide no basis for your professed moral outrage other than conclusory language about advocating racism, hatred and the like. For a lawyer employed by a state entity, your comments are both inappropriate and logically inept,” wrote David Yerushalmi, a lawyer in Chandler, Ariz.

“Be that as it may, the CTA has capitulated grudgingly, apparently, to the First Amendment of the Constitution. And, apparently, we have my clients to thank for that,” Yerushalmi concluded.

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