This all started back in 2013, when the FBI was running a terrorism awareness campaign featuring bus ads depicting photos of sixteen of the world’s Most Wanted Terrorists.
This was a publicity campaign sponsored by the Joint Terrorism Task Force for the State Department’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program. The ad featured the world’s leading global terrorists. As it happened, all but one were Muslim. Islamic supremacists and their leftist lapdogs demanded the want ad come down, claiming it was insulting to Muslims. The FBI caved and pulled the Seattle-area bus ads featuring the “Faces of Global Terrorism” after receiving complaints “that the ads stereotype Muslims.”
My organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), believed that this public awareness message was critical to national security and should run. We are constantly being clubbed with the claim that “moderate Muslims” abhor and reject the acts of terrorism that are constantly committed in the name of their religion, so why would they object to a wanted poster featuring Islamic terrorists who supposedly have twisted and hijacked their peaceful religion? Why would “moderate Muslims” provide cover for jihad terror? Why, indeed.
AFDI submitted a virtual copy of the FBI ad to run on Seattle transit. The cowards at Seattle King Metro refused to run the ad, claiming that it was disparaging to Muslims. Reality is disparaging to Muslims?
We sued Seattle King Metro. Predictably, the liberal fascists in Seattle sided with the supremacists. We appealed to the clowns on the notorious 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. And now they, as expected, ruled in favor of sharia and supremacism.
Of all the free speech legal battles I am embroiled in, this one is the most absurd. It illustrates the crippling submission and capitulation of government authorities to Islamic supremacist demands. And now it has gotten even more absurd: King County claimed last year that “AFDI…has directly forced six of the ten largest transit agencies in the United States to end all forms of political, public interest, and religious advertising. AFDI’s Pamela Geller calls this the ‘Geller Ban.’ Dkt. 57 (Declaration of Hackett, Ex. D (Geller Dep. at 44:19 – 45:1-4)). To date, not counting the transit systems chilled by AFDI’s ‘free speech’ campaign, the ‘Geller Ban’ has substantially limited the speech available to over 50 million Americans who live in the affected service areas.”
That’s right: they’re blaming us for the fascist, counter-free speech actions of the transit systems that changed their rules to ban all political ads rather than run our ads. This is like blaming a woman for being raped.
Our legal team at the American Freedom Law Center has responded:
The so-called “Geller Ban” referred to by the County is nothing more than a concerted effort by government officials to discriminate against Plaintiffs by seeking to close forums for Plaintiffs’ speech because the officials dislike the message. Plaintiffs refuse to surrender their freedoms to these government censors.
Click here to read our entire reply brief in our case against King County.
This is a key freedom of speech case, with enormous implications far beyond this one ad. We will never give up in our fight against this flagrant attempt to suppress our most fundamental freedom.