Target: Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska of the Southern District of New York U.S. District Court
Goal: Allow the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to refuse to run anti-Islam advertisements that refer to Muslims as “savages”
As protests continue to flare up throughout the Middle East in response to films that negatively portray Islam, anti-Muslim groups in the United States have taken the opportunity to foster further aggression and hate against followers of the Islamic faith. The American Freedom Defense Initiative, an outspoken pro-Israel organization that has often been categorized as a hate group, is poised to run a series of anti-Muslim advertisements on New York subway trains. The banners in question provocatively refer to Muslims as “savages,” an undeniably racist term that seeks to dehumanize and incite violence against Muslims in America and overseas. Insist that these hateful messages never see the light of day.
The banner ad’s inflammatory text reads, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” The term “savage” has been used throughout history to dehumanize groups of people thought to be inferior to “civilized” European colonizers. Now, the ugly term is wielded again to describe Muslims as less than human. Although the Metropolitan Transportation Authority originally sought to ban the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s controversial advertising, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Engelmayer ruled that the banners were protected speech under the First Amendment. The MTA now has no choice but to run the ads, which only serve to amplify the existing atmosphere of hostility that New York Muslims must face on a daily basis.
These advertisements will only serve to incite hatred and possibly violence on the streets and subways of New York. All residents of Manhattan deserve to feel safe in their own city regardless of their faith. Demand that the Manhattan federal court’s chief judge overturn the ruling and allow the MTA to refuse to display these hateful messages.
Dear Honorable Judge Preska,
As violence and dissent continues to rage in the Middle East, it’s important that Americans have avenues in which to discuss and debate the meaning of these events. However, flooding the subways of New York with hate speech in no way contributes to intelligent discourse on the Middle Eastern protests. Yet advertisements from the American Freedom Defense Initiative that hatefully refer to Muslims as “savages” and implore the viewer to “defeat Jihad” are poised to appear in Manhattan subway trains.
These advertisements have the potential to create unsafe environments in New York’s subway system. Acts of violence against American Muslims are already far too common; publicly dehumanizing members of the Islamic faith on banner ads will only serve to justify these ignorant acts of violence. I demand that you keep citizens of New York safe by honoring the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s desire to block these ads from subway cars.
[Your Name Here]
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