The religious war is intensifying on New York City’s subway platforms.
Two faith groups will hang ads urging tolerance toward Muslims alongside blogger Pamela Geller’s anti-jihad advertisements that equate Muslim radicals with savages.
This latter organisation is led by Jim Wallis, a progressive pastor who advises President Barack Obama and who has been an outspoken proponent of liberal values. TheBlaze first told you about his group’s ad campaign on Monday.
The New York Times reports that they’ll hang in the 10 Manhattan subway stations where the anti-jihad ads implying enemies of Israel are “savages” appear. So far, no plans to counter Geller’s bus ads have been announced (the blogger is still awaiting approval from the Metropolitan Transit Authority to launch an expanded ad campaign on the NYC bus system).
The rabbis’ ad says: “In the choice between love and hate, choose love. Help stop bigotry against our Muslim neighbours.”
“We wanted to make it clear that it is in response to the anti-Islam ad,” explained Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights. “Geller thinks she is speaking for the entire Jewish community. We are a group of 1,800 rabbis and we want everyone to know that we have to work in partnership with the Muslim community and do not believe in dehumanizing them.”
Wallis’ Christian ad says: “Love your Muslim neighbours.”
“An essential tenet of Christianity is to love our neighbours,” explained the Rev. Beau Underwood, Sojourners campaigns manager. In the face of religious extremism, the best response is to treat others like we would want to be treated. Our ad campaign has a simple message that is at the heart of our faith.
On Wednesday, another group, United Methodist Women, placed pro-Muslim ads in the subway. They say: “Hate speech is not civilized.”
The American Freedom defence Initiative, led by Geller, is behind the anti-jihad ads that sparked the initial controversy. As TheBlaze has extensively reported, she has been in a long and complicated battle with the MTA, the company that owns and operates the city’s subway, train and bus systems.
While the transit authority initially attempted to ban the ads last year, a judge ruled in Geller’s favour, leading to a decision to post them at numerous subway stops last month. Now, these counter ads are intended to defend against what these religious groups see as negative, anti-Islam messages.
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