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Religious Groups Urge Metro To Donate Money From Anti-Islam Ads

Protests against ads continue

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The American Freedom Defense Iniative's ad at the Glenmont Metro station has been flipped and plastered with stickers saying "Hate Speech."
Armando Trull
The American Freedom Defense Iniative's ad at the Glenmont Metro station has been flipped and plastered with stickers saying "Hate Speech."

A coalition of religious groups is responding to an ad campaign that associates Muslim radicals with savages. The coalition, which includes representatives from Christian, Muslim and Jewish groups, is urging Metro to donate proceeds from the ad campaign to a charity that supports human rights.

The ads, which urge people to "support Israel and defeat jihad," are sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative. The group's poster ads went up last week after a court ruled that Metro would be violating AFDI's First Amendment rights if the agency refused to post them.

The group sued Metro after Metro delayed posting the ads last month. The posters are now displayed in four D.C. area Metro stations: U Street/Cardozo and Georgia Ave./Petworth on the Green Line and Glenmont and Takoma stations on the Red Line.

The signs provoked a small backlash at the Takoma station last week when several women held signs quoting the Torah indicating that the ads do not speak for all Jews. When one of those women, Virginia Spatz, return to continue their protest at the Glenmont station, she found other people had beaten her to it.

"When I got to the Glenmont station this morning, we found that the sign itself had been placed backwards, so you have to either use a mirror or invert the letters to read it," says Spatz. "In addition, people have taken these stickers that say 'Hate Speech' and plastered them across the sign. Then somebody else came along, possibly Metro, and tried to clean it up, but clearly people have been protesting in their own way."

The coalition of religious leaders is taking a more active approach themselves. They will be placing a number of billboards in the Metro to balance out the provocative ads.

"In the coming week, we'll have a sign that reads, 'In the choice between love and hate, choose love,' says Rabbi Gerry Serrotta, part of the coalition. "And that's what these signs are, promoting hatred and bigotry in Washington. We can't stop freedom of speech, but we can provide an alternative message."

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