AFDI Ads Put Anti-Jihad on the UK Media’s Agenda
by Enza Ferreri
Pamela Geller’s subway ads have achieved the very important objective of making anti-jihad reach the headlines in the UK.
Even though the coverage was, as was to be expected, mostly unsympathetic to the ads, it’s not often that an ordinary person in Britain turns the TV on and hears the word “jihad” and even less “anti-jihad”, unless in connection with terrorist activities. Counterjihad posters in US main cities” subways are a revolutionary novelty.
So I think that even if the media reports can distort and give the wrong impression about the campaign, the very fact that the general public learns about it has the positive effect of letting people know that there is a resistance to Islamic violence and arrogance, and a response to anti-Israel ads.
There are many in Britain who don’t believe the propaganda by the political classes and the media. The idea that the BBC, for example, is strongly politically biased is becoming increasingly popular, so we can expect that lots of people will take what it says with a pinch of salt.
The BBC covered the judge ruling in favour of the ads in the New York subway with “Pro-Israel ‘Defeat Jihad’ ads to hit New York subway”, clearly and predictably sympathetic with the MTA and CAIR point of view:
Pro-Israel adverts that equate jihad with savagery are to appear in 10 of New York’s subway stations next week, after officials failed to block them.
“¦Aaron Donovan, spokesman for New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), told the BBC they had no choice but to run the ad.
“Our hands are tied,” he said. ‘The MTA is subject to a court-ordered injunction that prohibits application of the MTA’s existing no-demeaning ad standard.
“That standard restricted publication of ads that demean people on the basis of their race, sex, religion, national origin or other group classification. The judge recognised our intention but found our attempt to be constitutionally deficient.”
What “race, sex, religion, national origin or other group classification” is jihad? It is linked to a particular religion, yes, which is why we should be free to criticize Islam. But the ads don’t demean people for being Muslim, but just for embracing arms and killing other people. Who could object to “demeaning” murderers and terrorists?
Paradoxically, it is those like the MTA spokesman and the others who keep telling us how the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, who in practice, when they hear “jihad”, have the knee-jerk reaction of thinking “Muslims”.
Sky News similarly headlined: “Anti-Jihad Adverts To Run In New York Subway”:
The controversial leader of the group behind the adverts says she believes that America is at risk from some Muslims.
The head of a group that has won its fight to run controversial adverts in New York subway stations referring to some Muslims as “savage” has told Sky News that she will fight “to the death” for the right to offend people.
Ms Geller told Sky News that she was unconcerned the adverts might make the subway network a target for violence.
She said: “Were there similar ads on the London buses and trains on 7/7? You know
“I will not abridge my freedoms so as not to offend savages.
“I won’t take responsibility for other people being violent.
“I live in America and in America we have the first amendment.”
Ms Geller, who is a prominent supporter of Israel, stressed that she was not referring to all Muslims as savages, only those who engaged in what she characterises as “˜Jihad”.
She believes that America is under threat from some Muslims who wish to impose Sharia law on the country, and her group has launched similar campaigns before.
She believes that. And so believes everybody who has taken the time to look at the evidence as objectively as possible. That reference to “some Muslims” is ambiguous because it seems to imply, again, that Pamela Geller targets Muslims, although, for some unknown reason, not all of them.
Reporting on this without any attempt to explain the reasons behind someone’s actions is in itself deceiving. Telling that Geller “believes that America is under threat from some Muslims who wish to impose Sharia law on the country” to an audience that has never been informed about what Islam preaches, how its history unfolded, what its effects globally today are, and what Sharia law involves, is implicitly portraying her as a conspiracy theorist.
Russia Today, another news channel that broadcasts in Britain, reported on the Washington court ruling:
Judge Collyer openly described the posters as “˜hate speech”, but said the message was protected under the First Amendment as “˜core political speech” and did not accept the Metro’s argument that it incited violence and constitutes “˜a gamble with public safety”.
AFDI, whose poster has been condemned by over 200 public organizations, had to fight a similar legal battle in New York, again winning the right to place the ads.
The word “hate” is another of those over-used and abused words, like “racism”. The politically correct and those protected by them never hate, they are just righteously angry (against injustice, presumably). Anti-jihadists who write ads hate, but Muslims violently rioting are just angry (even rightly so, because someone provoked them with — how dared they! – a film). The English Defence League staging a peaceful demonstration in Walthamstow is hate, but the far-left extremists and Muslims who pelted them with bottles and bricks only showed their anger against these “bigots”.
Hate has obviously come to mean the thought crime of not thinking politically correctly.
In the press, both The Daily Mail and The Guardian have run several articles on the subject.
They both reported, among other things, on the Mona Eltahawy incident. The MailOnline had an interview with Pamela Hall in which she talked about her plans to sue Eltahawy for the damages she caused to her clothing and equipment during her ‘defense of free speech’.
The Guardian, in Comment in Free, asked its readers, “Mona Eltahawy and the anti-Muslim subway ads: is hers the right approach?”. The comments to the post are mostly answering no, drawing a distinction between exercising the freedom of speech and vandalism, and concluding that Eltahawy”s action was damaging public property and therefore illegal. This is one of the ever increasing number of cases in which the people who comment on liberal media’s articles reveal themselves to be much less on the left than the paper itself.
A commenter noticed the “anti-Muslim” in the headline, and wrote: “Strictly speaking, these ads are anti-violent-Jihad rather than anti-Muslim. That is, unless you believe that all Muslims automatically support violent Jihad. But, as we are told here so often, only a tiny, tiny minority of Muslims — who misunderstand their Religion of Peace — support violent Jihad. It is these people who are described in the ads as savages.”
Enza Ferreri is an Italian-born, London-based author and journalist. She has been a London correspondent for several Italian magazines and newspapers, including Panorama, L’Espresso, La Repubblica.