Intelligence Report: Controversial 'Defeat Jihad' ad could be headed to Chicago

September 24, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The ad that went up Monday in New York subway stations reads: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man...Support Israel. Defeat jihad."

The ad was initially refused by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City because it was "demeaning." But a federal judge cleared the way for the ad, calling it protected speech, and it looks as though you will see them in Chicago as well.

The ads that equate Islamic jihad with savagery were first seen this summer on buses in San Francisco, followed a short time later by adjacent disclaimers from the local transit agency in Northern California.

The provocative campaign targeting Muslim extremism debuted Monday at 10 New York City subway stations, and Chicago is next on the ad list financed by conservative blogger Pamela Geller, director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative.

"If it's not an ad, it's a film," said Geller. "If it's not a film, it's a teddy bear. If it's not a teddy bear, it's a Danish cartoon, or a Swedish cartoon or a French cartoon. When is a good time to speak openly and candidly about Jihad?"

Geller is the anti-Islamist activist who fought a Muslim cultural center near Ground Zero in Manhattan.

The New York ads come as tension in the Middle East is at a pitch; and as world leaders are gathering at the annual meeting of United Nations General Assembly.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations calls the ad an attempt to define Muslims through hate speech.

"We recognize their right to be racists. We recognize their right to be bigots. We also recognize the rights of New Yorkers to stand up to them," said CAIR's Muneer Awad.

Chicago Transit Authority officials say no ad buy has been made in Chicago. A spokesman would not speculate on what the CTA will do when Geller tries to place her ad.

There are CTA guidelines that determine whether ads may run, including whether they are objectionable or controversial.

Since the ad controversy began, the organization behind the campaign reports an influx of donations, money expected to be used for additional ad placement in Chicago and other cities.

Statement from Chicago Transit Authority

"We can't speculate on what our decision would be until/unless we receive an ad and conduct a review. CTA has a number of guidelines in place to determine whether ads can run on CTA system, including a review of ads that may be considered objectionable or controversial and prohibitions on ads that include, but are not limited to, depictions that are sexually explicit, legally obscene, portray graphic violence, or incite lawless or illegal action. That review is done on a case-by-case basis."
-Brian Steele, CTA Spokesman

American Freedom Defense Initiative

Council on American-Islamic Relations/New York City

Council on American-Islamic Relations/Chicago

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