Philadelphia, PA, October 8, 2014…The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today criticized a proposed advertisement from an anti-Muslim group as “inflammatory and highly offensive,” but said it is also protected political speech under the First Amendment.
The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), a group headed by the anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller, seeks to place advertisements on a number of Philadelphia SEPTA buses that state, “Islamic Jew-hatred: It’s in the Quran” and includes a 1941 photo of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini, having a conversation with Adolf Hitler. The League has previously criticized AFDI as “consistently vilifying the Islamic faith under the guise of fighting radical Islam.”
Nancy Baron-Baer, ADL Philadelphia Regional Director released the following statement:
“Pamela Geller and her anti-Muslim organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), seeks once again to take its hateful anti-Muslim message to the public in the form of paid advertisements on public transportation. These ads are inflammatory and highly offensive.
At the same time, ADL consistently maintains that government censorship is not the right response to hate speech. The League supports the free speech guarantees embodied in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, understanding that the best way to combat hateful speech is with more speech.”
ADL has played a leading role in exposing and combating anti-Muslim bigotry by: opposing so-called anti-Sharia laws around the country, producing reports on groups and individuals whose public campaigns have fueled this bigotry, and assisting Muslim communities denied permission to legally build or expand mosques in their neighborhoods.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.