Not quite the Love Bus
Decrying the bus of Sharia, stoning, and shame. “Demonstrators protest Broward bus ads promoting Islam,” by Adam H. Beasley for the Miami Herald, January 16 (thanks to James):
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle Friday added his voice to the vocal — albeit small — chorus demanding the county strip controversial advertisements promoting Islam from Broward County buses.
But his appeal will likely fall on deaf ears, if for no other reason than this: The county would open itself up to a lawsuit should it remove the ads.
The county has no plans to take them down before the existing contract expires on Jan. 26, said Broward Mayor Stacy Ritter. The Broward County Commission will decide then what — if any — advertisements with religious themes will appear on county buses going forward.
Ritter said the commission did not know the ads’ content before they adorned county buses. Broward County contracts out the sale of ads on buses to Lamar Advertising, which deals directly with vendors.
At issue — 50 Broward County buses, which for weeks have been driving with the following message plastered to their exterior: “ISLAM: The Way of Life of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.”
With tensions already high between pro-Israel and Pro-Palestinian groups over the ongoing campaign in Gaza, the ads have just added fuel to the fire.
Friday afternoon, Jewish activist Joe Kaufman, chairman of Americans Against Hate, staged a protest at the Broward County Government Center, demanding the county take down the ads. Naugle spoke at the event, in support of the cause.
”The County Commission needs to park these buses this weekend and remove these advertisements,” Naugle said.
In addition to the potentially inflammatory message — Kaufman said it implies Abraham, Moses and Jesus were Muslim — Naugle and the group of protesters took umbrage with who was behind the campaign.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations footed the bill. Kaufman and Naugle said plainly CAIR is affiliated with Hamas, the terrorist group controlling the Gaza strip.
CAIR comes back with…wait for it…can you guess?…you’ve never heard this one before…ready? Here goes:
Altaf Ali, director of CAIR’s South Florida chapter, called the noontime rally ”a big joke,” saying the ads’ message is being misunderstood.
”We’re trying to inform people about Islam,” said Ali, pointing out that the ad includes a toll-free number that provides information on the religion….
Still, it didn’t lack passion. The group broke into chants of ”Shame, shame, shame,” when Kaufman excoriated the county for accepting CAIR’s money.
Demonstrators lined Andrews Avenue with signs that read, ”Hamas = Murderers” and “Throw CAIR off the bus.”