New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has banned all political advertising on its subways and buses, allowing it to refuse to display an ad about Muslims killing Jews.
The resolution passed Wednesday night at the MTA board meeting. The decision comes after a federal judge earlier this month ruled that an anti-Islamic ad which includes the statement “Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah,” is protected speech under the First Amendment and said it must be run on public transportation.
The policy as passed by a vote of 9-2 and became effective immediately, the New York Post reported.
Only paid commercial advertising, public-service announcements and government messages will be permitted to be displayed on MTA buses and subways.
U.S. District Judge John Koeltl on April 21 rejected the MTA argument in rejecting the ad that it could be seen as a call to violence against Jews and could incite terrorism.
The ad is sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which is headed by blogger Pamela Geller and is known for its sharp anti-Muslim rhetoric. The ad has run in other cities, including Chicago and San Francisco, without inciting violence.
The ad, which was first rejected last September, includes a man wearing a scarf over his face and adds, “That’s his Jihad, what’s yours?”
The “Killing Jews” ad is part of a five-ad campaign parodying the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ “My Jihad” ads that have appeared on public transportation in other cities. The CAIR ads emphasize the nonviolent aspects of the term “jihad.”
“Hateful speech is not harmless speech. Only a fool or rogue would argue otherwise,” Charles Moerdler, an MTA board member and Holocaust survivor who voted for the new policy, said following the vote according to the Post.
Geller, who attended the meeting, said she will work to overturn the new MTA policy on political advertising.
Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia already have banned political ads on public transit.