Posted at: 09/21/2012 5:31 PM
| Updated at: 09/21/2012 6:30 PM
By: Abigail Bleck
ROTTERDAM JUNCTION--The layout is basic. But the message is bold. The American Freedom Defense Initiative posters read, "In any war between the civilized man and the savage support the civilized man." There is also a pro-Israel sub-headline calling for the defeat of Jihad.
"Once you decide to take political ads, you can't decide which message you like and which message you don't like," explains Pamela Gellar, founder of the American Freedom Defense Initiative.
The MTA, the agency that runs New York City's subways, initially rejected the campaign, citing "demeaning" language. But a judge reversed that decision and ordered the ads to go up.
"While most people find the ads to be patently offensive, what would be more offensive is if they were censored," believes Melanie Tremble, executive director of the Capital District's NYCLU.
But at a Rotterdam Junction mosque, where the motto is "Love for all, hatred for none," the debate about morality versus constitutionality is more pertinent this week more than ever before.
"Freedom of speech is only freedom when it's not inciting hatred. With freedom comes responsibility," argues Tahira Khan of the Bait Un Nur Mosque.
The posters are set to premiere just one week after an anti-Muslim movie spurred a murder in Libya and riots around the world. The timing, however accidental due to the tie up in court, could not be worse, believes Khan.
"We should get together and unify and not allow the elements that divide us to win ."."
The MTA is considering a ban on all issue based ads in the future.