Detroit’s SMART transit system refused to run our AFDI/SIOA religious liberty bus ads, offering help for those in danger for leaving Islam; however, in an unusual victory for the freedom of speech, a judge has ordered the ads to run.
In “A Victory for Free Speech and Free People” in the American Thinker today, my colleague Pamela Geller gives the details:
In a notable victory for the freedom of speech, a U.S. District Court judge has ruled that Detroit’s SMART bus system must run my religious liberty bus ads offering help to people wishing to leave Islam safely, without having to live in fear.
This victory has been a long time coming. SMART initially refused to run my ads back in the spring of 2010. Despite the desperate need for resources for Muslims under threat for leaving Islam, the city of Detroit refused to run our freedom campaign on the Dearborn and Detroit buses. In May of that year, my group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, sued the city of Detroit for refusing our ads — the same ads that were dropped and then allowed on free speech grounds in Miami, and which ran without legal challenge in New York City and San Francisco.
But in Detroit, they caved to Islamic supremacism and violated their own ad guidelines of freedom of speech. Here is SMART’s guideline for bus ads:
As a governmental agency that receives state and federal funds, SMART is mandated to comply with federal and state laws. First Amendment free speech rights require that SMART not censor free speech and because of that, SMART is required to provide equal access to advertising on our vehicles.
What’s more, contrary to claims from the Hamas-tied Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other Islamic supremacists that the ads were "offensive," the need for them was obvious. According to the Washington Times, a teacher in Dearborn noted that there was "a climate of fear in the Detroit area’s community." The educator explained: "The fear is palpable. I know there are things I am ‘not allowed’ to say. A discussion of religion with a Muslim person is often prefaced by the statement, ‘Don’t say anything about the Prophet [Muhammad].’ In free society, open and honest conversation is not usually begun by a prohibition. Threats and intimidation are just part of life here."…