AFDI Wins Again—’Killing Jews Is Worship’ Ad Will Go Up in NYC

Pamela Geller, the president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), won a major victory on Tuesday. U.S. District Judge John Koeltl ruled that New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) must allow AFDI’s new ad that quotes Hamas TV saying “Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah” to run on its subway cars and buses.

The image accompanying the Hamas quote depicts a young man wearing a checkered headscarf over a statement reading, “That’s His Jihad. What’s yours?” A disclaimer at the bottom states that the ad is “a paid advertisement sponsored by” AFDI and “does not imply MTA’s endorsement.”

Geller tweeted triumphantly, “Congrats! This is a triumph for liberty and free speech.” AFDI promised on its website, “With our NY win, our ads will make their debut on New York buses in the coming weeks. We want to run 100. Help us make that happen.”

MTA Security Director Raymond Diaz had argued that the MTA should eschew running the ads because they might trigger violence against Jews, writing, “What matters is not AFDI’s intent, but how the ad would be interpreted,” he wrote. He added that because the ad asked, “What is yours?” the ad could be interpreted as a “call to violence,” because it mocked ads run by the Muslim group CAIR, which never ran on the MTA in New York, but did appear in several cities across the nation.

AFDI responded to Diaz by asserting that its posters had not catalyzed any violence in Chicago and San Francisco, prompting Diaz to postulate that New York had a different history, as it was “the prime terror target” and that the “terrorist security threat” had increased since 2013.

But Koetl sided with AFDI, writing that MTA officials “underestimate the tolerant quality of New Yorkers and overestimate the potential impact of these fleeting advertisements… Moreover, there is no evidence that seeing one of these advertisements on the back of a bus would be sufficient to trigger a violent reaction. Therefore, these ads — offensive as they may be — are still entitled to First Amendment protection.” He added, “The defendants admit that the actual intention of the advertisement is not to advocate the use of force, but to parody the CAIR ‘My Jihad’ campaign and to criticize Hamas and radical Islam. However, they argue that a reasonable New Yorker would not read the advertisement this way, but would instead read it as advocating the killing of Jewish people. The defendants’ theory is thoroughly unpersuasive.”

The MTA has been battling AFDI for years. The MTA tried to ban an AFDI ad that opposed building a mosque at Ground Zero, but after the American Freedom Law Center sued the MTA, the MTA capitulated. In 2011, the MTA permitted ads to run on its subways stating, “End U.S. military aid to Israel.” AFDI responded with an ad stating, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” The MTA refused to run AFDI’s ad, arguing that it was demeaning to Muslims and Palestinians. AFDI sued and won in court; the ads were then displayed.

Despite the fact that AFDI simply quoted Hamas TV, the Washington Post attempted to limn AFDI as an extremist organization while downplaying the murderous inclinations of Hamas. The Post wrote, “AFDI is not your traditional free speech organization, however… The Southern Poverty Law Center considers AFDI an “anti-Muslim” hate group.” The Southern Poverty Law Center is the same group that put Dr. Ben Carson on its “extremist watch list” in 2015 and Senator Rand Paul on the same list in 2013.

The Post acted as though the violence promulgated by Hamas was just a silly off-shoot of their wackiness, attributing the quote about killing Jews to “the Palestinian group’s odd blend of violence and music videos.”

The Post also used CAIR, a Muslim advocacy group with terrorist ties, as an example of those criticizing AFDI, writing, “AFDI’s ads have also drawn objections from Muslims. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a civil liberties group that promotes the rights of Muslims and better relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, launched its own public relations campaign to combat AFDI.” Ironically, CAIR tried to erase its ties to Hamas in 2009 from trial records when a federal judge ruled that CAIR had ties to the terrorist group.

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Screening of ‘American Sniper’ Canceled at University of Maryland

AP Photo

A planned screening of the film American Sniper on the University of Maryland campus has been been canceled after outcry from Muslim students.

The school’s conservative group released this statement in response:

The University of Maryland Student Entertainment Events (SEE) decided to screen American Sniper on May 6 and 7, 2015.  After meeting with concerned student organizations, SEE has decided to ‘postpone’ the movie.

If the University prevents a movie like this from being shown, it promotes intolerance and stifles dialogue and debate on the subject and goes directly against the atmosphere of diversity the University of Maryland purports to provide.

The Muslim Students Association at the University of Maryland started a petition requesting that the school pull the screening of American Sniper. In the petition, the group stated that the film “perpetuates the spread of Islamaphobia and is offensive to many Muslims around the world for good reason.”

Ironically enough, the group also requested that students “exercise their freedom of speech” by signing the petition to remove the film from campus. MSA seemingly got their wish this morning when the school decided to cancel the screening.

The University of Maryland is only one of several campuses that have faced student outcry for screening, or attempting to screen, the Oscar-winning film. Just recently, the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at the University of Michigan protested the school’s decision to cancel the campus screening. Their protests were successful as the school eventually decided to show the film as planned.

This piece has been updated.

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Judge Allows MTA To Show Controversial Anti-Muslim ‘Killing Jews Is Worship …

Last year, San Francisco allowed controversial signs to be displayed that were clearly anti-Muslim. The Inquisitr reported on the signs — showcasing Osama Bin Laden along with the World Trade Center Towers burning in the background — and associating said images with Islam. Needless to say, such a sign displayed on the sides of public transportation buses brought about backlash.

Now, a updated version of the signs are making a return. However, the location is different as they will now be displayed in New York City.

Pamela GellerPamela Geller

Pamela Geller is one of the co-founders of American Freedom Defense Initiative.

According to Daily Mail, the American Freedom Defense Initiative — a pro-Israel advocacy group co-founded by Pamela Geller and known to publicly criticize Islam — is displaying brand new signs on the sides of buses of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The decision to allow them to be shown was made public on Tuesday, April 21, 2015, when Judge John Koeltl said its speech — in which it says “Killing Jews is worship” – is protected under the First Amendment.

The reason why John Koeltl even had to step in on such a situation is because MTA didn’t want the signs displayed in the first place. MTA cited problems that may arise like increased violence towards Jews. However, Koeltl states that MTA “underestimate the tolerant quality of New Yorkers and overestimate the potential impact of these fleeting advertisements. It strains credulity to believe that New Yorkers would be incited to violence by ads that did not incite residents of Chicago and San Francisco.”

Right now, John Koeltl is giving MTA a month to come up with an appeal, in which they may have if they utilize the stance that Bill de Blasio, the mayor of NYC, has towards the anti-Muslim posters. Previously, de Blasio has stated “these anti-Islamic ads are outrageous, inflammatory and wrong, and have no place in New York City, or anywhere.” Even his spokeswoman, Monica Klein, made a statement on his behalf.

“These hateful messages serve only to divide and stigmatize when we should be coming together as one city. While those behind these ads only display their irresponsible intolerance, the rest of us who may be forced to view them can take comfort in the knowledge that we share a better, loftier and nobler view of humanity.”

MTA may also utilize the fact that Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) identifies the American Freedom Defense Initiative and its co-founder, Pamela Geller, as “Anti-Muslim extremists,” as reported by RYOT. Nevertheless, if MTA provides no appeal after the month is up, they will have to run the signs as protected by the First Amendment.

[Images via Pamela Geller’s Twitter]

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York parent: Teen who wanted to join ISIS, plotted to kill US soldiers had bullets …

School officials in York have launched an investigation after the parent of a high school student told them Wednesday the Muslim teen, who admitted to wanting to join the Islamic State and was being lured into a plot to kill American soldiers, had ammunition at the school in the fall of 2014.

The 16-year-old, an American citizen of Syrian heritage, was sentenced Tuesday to juvenile prison until he turns 21 after pleading guilty to a charge of being a minor in possession of a handgun. The investigation by York police and federal agents, which started in February, uncovered the teen’s radical leanings and connection to an alleged Muslim militant from North Carolina.

The Herald has not named the teen because he is a juvenile.

However, Rosa Peeler, the parent of another York Comprehensive High School student, said after reading about the teen’s sentencing in The Herald that she knew who the teen was because she had reported his having ammunition on school grounds last year. Possession of ammunition on school grounds is illegal under the S.C. Safe Schools Act.

Peeler said other parents and students from the school had heard of the teen’s talking publicly about his radical beliefs.

“I reported this last year, and it should have been handled and it wasn’t,” Peeler told The Herald on Thursday. “I told them last year. I am upset.”

Peeler talked to school officials Wednesday about the September incident, during which she said the teen showed Peeler’s son the bullets outside the York Comprehensive High football stadium. Peeler immediately told a person she believed to be a school employee about the incident, she said, and that employee confronted the teen about the ammunition.

The next day, Peeler said, the teen said the bullets were ammunition for deer hunting, and no action was taken.

“And now we find out that this teenager wanted to join ISIS and was convicted of weapon possession,” Peeler said. “Several parents are concerned.”

York Superintendent Vernon Prosser confirmed Thursday that school administrators have opened an investigation into Peeler’s allegation. It will be difficult to determine who the adult was Peeler talked to last year, he said, or if that person was an employee or a volunteer.

Many people who are not school employees help out at school functions, Prosser said, so it might be impossible to find out whom the parent told.

If the person Peeler told about the ammunition had been a school administrator, Prosser said, he’s confident the situation would have been addressed immediately.

“We do not know who she told,” Prosser said. “We will look into it, and we will deal with it if we are able to find out what happened.”

York Police Lt. Rich Caddell said the police department has no record indicating that police were told about the incident Peeler reported. Police Chief Andy Robinson said Wednesday was the first time he or anyone in his department heard about the incident.

“If we had known about this allegation, we would have acted,” Robinson said.

FBI agents asked York police not to release information to the public about the investigation into the teen starting in February because of the ongoing investigation, Robinson said. Robinson and his top officers discussed whether to tell the public, he said, and agreed not to disclose the connections to ISIS or the plot in the interest of public safety.

The FBI and federal prosecutors have declined to comment on whether the teen – or the alleged North Carolina extremist the teen met and was planning to wage “jihad” with – are under federal investigation or indictment.

Andrew Dys •  803-329-4065

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CAIR Welcomes DOJ Decision to ‘Monitor’ Arkansas Shooting Range Declared …

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed a decision by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to “monitor” a Hot Springs, Ark., shooting range that has been declared a “Muslim-free zone” by its owner.

SEE: Arkansas Gun Range Owner Declares Her Business a ‘Muslim-Free Zone’

In October of last year, CAIR asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to launch an investigation after the owner claimed that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agreed with her barring customers based on their faith.

SEE: Let’s Check in with the ‘Muslim-free’ Gun Range in Arkansas

In its letter to Attorney General Holder, CAIR wrote in part:

“Given the recent spike in anti-Muslim rhetoric, including Islamophobic statements by government officials, community leaders and media outlets, death threats, and other bias incidents targeting Muslims, I urge you to investigate this matter soon.

“CAIR believes that systematically banning Muslims from a place of business is a violation of federal laws prohibiting racial and religious discrimination and will inevitably result in a hostile environment for ordinary Muslims in Arkansas.”

SEE: CAIR’s October 2014 Letter to Attorney General Holder

In January of this year, CAIR sent another letter to the DOJ after South Asian customers, who appeared “brown,” were turned away from the business.

SEE: Father and Son Turned Away from “Muslim-Free” Hot Springs Gun Range for Being Brown

CAIR has now received a letter from the DOJ informing the Washington-based civil rights organization of the decision to monitor the Arkansas case.

“We welcome this positive development and hope it leads to a thorough investigation of clear violations of the civil rights of American Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim by the gun range owner,” said CAIR Litigation Director for Civil Rights Jenifer Wicks

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171,


SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations


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How Muslims replaced gays and feminists as the US right’s cultural enemy …

If George W. Bush were seeking the Republican presidential nomination today, he’d face at least one big problem: his defense of Muslims and Islam. In a 2000 debate with Al Gore, Bush condemned the fact that “Arab Americans are racially profiled” using “what is called secret evidence.” After 9/11, he called Islam “a faith based upon love, not hate,” and made a highly publicized visit to a mosque. One Muslim Republican even called Bush America’s “first Muslim president.”

A decade and a half later, the climate on the American right has radically changed. In January, the Republican presidential hopeful Bobby Jindal argued that “it is completely reasonable for [Western] nations to discriminate” against some Muslims in their immigration policies, on the grounds that radical Islamists “want to destroy their culture.”

In February, another GOP contender, Mike Huckabee, declared, “Everything [President Obama] does is against what Christians stand for, and he’s against the Jews in Israel. The one group of people that can know they have his undying, unfailing support would be the Muslim community.” In March, after New York City announced that public schools would close for two Muslim holidays, Todd Starnes, a Fox News contributor, lamented, “The Islamic faith is being given accommodation and the Christian faith and other religious faiths are being marginalized.”

This is strange. Why are conservatives more hostile to Muslims and Islam today than they were in the terrifying aftermath of 9/11? And why have American Muslims, who in 2000 mostly voted Republican, apparently replaced gays and feminists as the right’s chief culture-war foe?

For half a century, cultural conservatives have vowed to protect America against threats from domestic insurgencies: black militancy, feminism, the gay-rights movement. But those insurgencies involved large and restive groups. Muslims, by contrast, make up only 1 percent of the U.S. population. And they are not restive. Yes, a tiny share sympathizes with Salafi groups like the Islamic State, or ISIS. But unlike the civil-rights, abortion-rights, and gay-rights activists of eras past, American Muslims are not seeking to transform American culture and law. They are not marching in the streets. For the most part, they constitute a small, well-educated, culturally conservative minority that wants little more from the government than to be left alone.

Muslims have become the right’s greatest cultural enemy in large part because they are what remains after the ideological collapse of the “war on terror.” After September 11, George W. Bush outlined an epic, generational struggle—a successor to World War II and the Cold War—to make the Middle East democratic and pro-American. “In our grief and anger,” he told a joint session of Congress nine days after the attacks, “we have found our mission and our moment.”

For a time, that mission directed the right’s energies outward. Most conservatives (along with many liberals) supported Bush’s efforts to occupy and transform Afghanistan and Iraq. Undergirding these efforts lay a deep confidence in the power of American arms, the size of America’s bank account, and the universal relevance of American democracy.

Since Bush’s second term, however, when both the Afghan and Iraq Wars went dramatically south, that confidence has collapsed. Today, most conservatives credit Bush for the success of the Iraq surge, but they no longer propose large deployments of American troops to the Middle East, and they no longer believe America can spend limitlessly abroad. And especially since the failed Arab Spring, they no longer proclaim the necessity—or even the desirability—of Arab democracy. Whereas the Bush administration once pressured Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak to hold free elections, prominent conservatives now praise his successor, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, for having led a coup to overturn their results.

But if conservatives no longer believe they can transform the Middle East, they still greatly fear terrorism by Muslims. A 2014 poll by the Pew Research Center found that Republicans were 31 percentage points more likely than Democrats to be “very concerned” about the threat of “Islamic extremism” around the world. The result is a mismatch between conservative anxieties and conservative methods. Although most conservatives are happy to bomb ISIS, the American right has lost its appetite for a vast overseas struggle against jihadist terror. Instead of tempering their view of the threat, conservatives have domesticated it. By reconceiving the Islamist danger as a largely domestic problem, conservatives can now fight it ferociously without having to invade any other countries.

All they need to do is prevent Muslims from Islamicizing America. Thus, in 2010, Newt Gingrich called the adoption of Sharia “a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States.” To prevent an “attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government,” the GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain vowed in 2011 not to appoint any Muslims to his Cabinet. In 2012, five Republican members of Congress sent a letter to the State Department’s deputy inspector general suggesting that Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin, who is Muslim, had influenced the State Department on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The right’s new focus on the danger that Muslims allegedly pose at home is McCarthyite in a very specific sense. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, conservatives were deeply frightened by communism overseas. But many of them also worried that the Truman administration’s military spending was creating budget deficits and that America’s entrance into NATO (and later the Korean War) was undermining American sovereignty. By hunting alleged communists in the State Department, and thereby suggesting that the real threat lay not overseas but at home, Joseph McCarthy reconciled those concerns.

“The reason why we find ourselves in a position of impotency is not because our only powerful potential enemy has sent men to invade our shores,” he declared in his infamous Wheeling, West Virginia, speech in February 1950, “but rather because of the traitorous actions of those who have been treated so well by this nation.” By suggesting that the real Islamic threat lies at home, today’s conservatives are saying much the same thing.

There is a second way in which American Muslims have replaced previous conservative foes. Since the 1970s, conservatives have often depicted American Christians as under assault. In his book A War for the Soul of America, Andrew Hartman quotes the Reverend Jerry Falwell as arguing that the fight against feminism constituted “a holy war for the survival of the family.”

In his 1992 convention speech, the Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan called the culture war a struggle over whether “the Judeo-Christian values and beliefs upon which this nation was built” would survive. More recently, Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly has invoked a “war on Christmas.” As Alan Noble, a professor at Oklahoma Baptist University, noted last year in an online piece for The Atlantic, “Persecution has an allure for many evangelicals.”

But over the past several years, two of the groups that the right has traditionally deemed threats—feminists and gays—have grown harder to demonize. After Bill Clinton, in 1997, tapped an openly gay man to be the ambassador to Luxembourg, the Republican Senate majority leader, Trent Lott, opposed the nomination on the grounds that homosexuality was a sin. As recently as 2004, George W. Bush made his opposition to gay marriage an important part of his presidential campaign. Today, by contrast, gay marriage enjoys significant support even among Republican voters, and denouncing homosexuality has become almost politically unacceptable.

BuzzFeed, for instance, recently reported that Jeb Bush is hiring several gay and pro-gay-rights operatives for his nascent presidential campaign. 
Identifying feminists as the enemy has become harder too. In his 1992 convention speech, Buchanan called Bill and Hillary Clinton agents of “radical feminism” who want to put “our wives and daughters and sisters into combat units.”

Falwell blamed 9/11 on “the abortionists and the feminists … all of them who have tried to secularize America.” It’s difficult to imagine a prominent conservative saying such things today. Most conservatives still vehemently oppose abortion. But liberal charges of a Republican “war on women” have made conservatives skittish about sounding sexist or insensitive. As a result, while they still depict themselves as under cultural assault, they don’t generally identify feminists as the ones leading the attack anymore.

Increasingly, they blame Muslims. The charge enjoys resonance in part because of the terrible brutality ISIS has been inflicting on Christians in Iraq and Syria. But conservative culture warriors also raise the specter of Muslim oppression of Christians in the United States. Warning that Sharia might be adopted in the U.S.—and that American Christians might thus be subjected to Muslim law—is one way.

Another is by suggesting, as Bobby Jindal and Fox News have, that Muslims have established “no-go” zones for non-Muslims in some neighborhoods in Europe, with the implication that they might do the same in the United States. (Fox later retracted this claim; Jindal did not.) According to another Pew poll, evangelical Christians believe they suffer more discrimination than do American Muslims.

As America recovers from the Great Recession, some pundits have observed that foreign policy is again becoming central to American politics. But that’s not quite right. Much of what passes for foreign-policy debate is actually the inversion of foreign policy, whereby conservatives try to replace a formidable target abroad with a softer one at home.

Sadly, McCarthyism is not the only precedent in American history for this type of demonization: hyper-nationalist politicians went after German Americans during World War I and Japanese Americans during World War II. Similarly, today, with conservatives frustrated by America’s failed wars in the Middle East and the increasing unassailability of their traditional domestic foes, they are turning on American Muslims for the simplest of political reasons: because they can.

This article was first published in The Atlantic. 

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He is Muslim, he had a job and opportunities and he is still a terrorist

According to French police they foiled a terrorism attack when they arrested  a young, male “Islamic extremist”, originally from Algeria studying computer science in Paris, France who had numerous powerful loaded guns which he planned to use to slaughter church goers in that city.  Apparently he accidentally shot himself in the leg and was caught when he sought medical help.

The 24-year-old computer science student, who was also suspected in the death of a young woman whose body was found on Sunday shortly before his arrest, had been flagged as a risk for intent to travel to Syria but there had been no specific reason to open a judicial investigation, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Wednesday.

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said the suspect — an Algerian who had lived in France for several years — was arrested in Paris Sunday after he apparently shot himself by accident and called for an ambulance.

He was waiting outside his apartment building for first aid when police arrived. They followed a trail of blood to his car, which contained loaded guns, and notes about potential targets.

A search of his apartment in southeastern Paris turned up more weapons including three Kalashnikov assault rifles along with phones and computers that police used to establish that he’d been in communication with someone “who could have been in Syria,” Molins said at a news conference.

But…but…how can that be?  The suspect had numerous present and future opportunities as he was studying computer science in a well governed city and country.  After all didn’t the ever profound US State Department spokescritter, Marie Harf, profoundly state just a few months ago  that young male Muslims turn to extremism because of lack of jobs?

We can not kill our way out of this war. We need in the medium and longer term to go after the root causes that lead people to join these groups, whether it is lack of opportunity for jobs–

A few days later she repeated her nuanced assertion to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.  

BLITZER: Just to be precise I want to give you a chance to respond to some of the critics who have been out there. You say it’s important to find these guys jobs so they don’t become terrorists. Explain what you meant.

HARF: Where there are places around the world where there’s a lack of governance, a lack of economic opportunity. President George W. Bush talked about poverty being one of the drivers leading people to extremism. Where they are lacking in these kinds of opportunities, we need to talk about how to make that different, how to help our partners around the world give young men in that vulnerable age group a different path in life. Show them that there’s a different chance for them than joining a terrorist organization. Again, it’s one part of it, Wolf, but this is really a comprehensive way of looking how to combat extremism and it’s not one that fits into a sound bite sometimes as I’ve seen over the last 24 hours but it’s a really important piece of this.

For some reason this attitude amused and confused some people.  So it wasn’t Islam; it wasn’t Muslim beliefs that forced Muslim young men to blow up defenseless women and children, chop off heads of “non believers,” spew hatred towards Jews, Christians, Israel, America and those who don’t follow their particular brand of Islam, it was lack of opportunities and jobs. 

So who is correct?  Marie Harf and the State Department or those who are condemned as Islamophobic?  Presumed Islamophobics or the State Department?  Hmmmm.

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‘The Real’ Hit With Discrimination Complaint Over Muslim Headscarf Controversy

The Real has landed in hot water.

The L.A. branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) has filed a complaint against the daytime talk show, alleging that two Muslim audience members wearing headscarves were asked to remain out of the cameras’ view.

According to the complaint, filed with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the alleged incident took place in February during a taping on the Warner Bros. lot. The women wearing hijabs were told as they entered the taping that the studio’s policy prevented them from sitting in the front row, and so the women complied, according to the advocacy group.

“Warner Bros. has no legal justification for removing the hijab-wearing women from the camera’s view,” said CAIR-LA attorney Fatima Dadabhoy. “No studio should maintain such a discriminatory policy that prohibits people wearing religious head coverings from being seen in its studio audiences.”

Dadabhoy added that it’s “baffling” for a show that seemingly celebrates diversity to “want to hide their visibly Muslim viewers.”

The Real is hosted by Tamar Braxton, Loni Love, Adrienne Bailon, Jeannie Mai and Tamera Mowry-Housley. It landed a second-season pickup in February.

A Warner Bros. rep did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Twitter: @_RyanGajewski

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‘Killing Jews is Worship’ posters will soon appear on NYC subways and buses

New Yorkers are used to aggressive advertising. Banners for breast implants. Billboards for condoms. But a federal judge’s ruling has opened the door for far more controversial posters on buses and subways across the city.

“Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah,” reads one such ad next to the image of a young man in a checkered headscarf. “That’s His Jihad. What’s yours?”

The poster is at the center of heated legal debate over public safety and free speech. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge John Koeltl ruled that New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) cannot stop the controversial ad from running on scores of subway cars and buses.

The MTA has argued that the ad could incite violence against Jews, but Koeltl rejected that idea.

MTA officials “underestimate the tolerant quality of New Yorkers and overestimate the potential impact of these fleeting advertisements,” he ruled. “Moreover, there is no evidence that seeing one of these advertisements on the back of a bus would be sufficient to trigger a violent reaction. Therefore, these ads — offensive as they may be — are still entitled to First Amendment protection.”

Making the case all the stranger is that the posters are not the work of an Islamist group, but rather a pro-Israel organization.

“This is a triumph for liberty and free speech,” tweeted Pamela Geller, the president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), the group that purchased the ads and sued the MTA to run them. “#freedom #victory #shariafail.”

AFDI is not your traditional free speech organization, however. The “about” section on its website starts out pretty straightforward, then takes a very hard turn.

“Our objective is to go on the offensive when legal, academic, legislative, cultural, sociological, and political actions are taken to dismantle our basic freedoms and values,” it says. “AFDI acts against the treason being committed by national, state, and local government officials, the mainstream media, and others in their capitulation to the global jihad and Islamic supremacism, the ever-encroaching and unconstitutional power of the federal government, and the rapidly moving attempts to impose socialism and Marxism upon the American people.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center considers AFDI an “anti-Muslim” hate group. This year, AFDI is organizing an inaugural Muhammad portrait contest, despite objections from Muslims who consider images of the prophet blasphemous.

Whatever you make of the group, AFDI has been remarkably successful in bringing its message to America. AFDI has filed at least nine lawsuits across the country, often against cities or their contractors that refuse to display their messages.

Those messages include a poster depicting Adolf Hitler meeting with “the leader of the Muslim world” and demanding that the U.S. cut off all aid to Islamic countries. “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man,” reads another AFDI poster. “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

These posters have put AFDI on a crash course with both the MTA and Muslim advocacy groups. In 2011, the MTA refused to run the “savage” ad because it was demeaning to Muslims and Palestinians. AFDI sued, and a federal judge later ruled that MTA’s non-demeaning standard violated the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. The “savage” ads soon went up all over New York City.

AFDI’s ads have also drawn objections from Muslims. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a civil liberties group that promotes the rights of Muslims and better relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, launched its own public relations campaign to combat AFDI. In 2012 and 2013, CAIR ran posters in several American cities promoting peaceful versions of Islam. “‘#MyJihad is to build friendships across the aisle.’ What’s yours?” But the ads never ran in New York due to a disagreement between CAIR and MTA.

With its echoing “What’s yours?”, AFDI’s latest and most controversial “Killing Jews” advertisement parodies CAIR’s campaign. Last summer, AFDI purchased space on 100 buses and subway cars for four of its ads. The MTA approved three of the ads, but blocked the “Killing Jews” poster.

The poster attributes the “Killing Jews” quote to “Hamas MTV,” apparently a reference to the Palestinian group’s odd blend of violence and music videos. The ad also has a disclaimer at the bottom noting that it is “a paid advertisement sponsored by” AFDI and “does not imply MTA’s endorsement.”

But MTA Security Director Raymond Diaz worried that the poster would nonetheless incite violence, primarily against Jews. “What matters is not AFDI’s intent, but how the ad would be interpreted,” he wrote. The line “What is yours?” could be considered a “call to violence,” particularly because the CAIR posters it was mocking never appeared in New York. When AFDI pointed out that the exact same poster had not caused any problems in Chicago or San Francisco, Diaz argued that New York was different because it is “the prime terror target” and that the “terrorist security threat” had grown worse since 2013.

On Tuesday, however, Judge Koeltl tossed out those arguments and sided with AFDI. The ads could not reasonably be considered an incitement to violence, even if someone didn’t understand them.

“The defendants admit that the actual intention of the advertisement is not to advocate the use of force, but to parody the CAIR ‘My Jihad’ campaign and to criticize Hamas and radical Islam. However, they argue that a reasonable New Yorker would not read the advertisement this way, but would instead read it as advocating the killing of Jewish people,” Koeltl wrote. “The defendants’ theory is thoroughly unpersuasive.”

After AFDI’s victory, Geller posed for photos outside the federal courthouse while holding the “Killing Jews” advertisement.

“With our NY win, our ads will make their debut on New York buses in the coming weeks,” AFDI’s Web site promises above a “donate” button. “We want to run 100. Help us make that happen.”

But even if the ads don’t incite violence in New York City, they could overseas. Earlier this month, Egypt’s top religious authority called AFDI’s posters “racist” and issued a fatwa, or official edict, against them. “This hazardous campaign will leave the gate of confrontation and clashes wide open instead of exerting efforts towards peaceful coexistence and harmony,” according to the edict.

Hamas, the group cited on the ads, has not said whether it approves of the message.

Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune

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Odds Grow Next Homegrown Terror Attacker Will Be A Woman

Jihad Jane: Terrorism’s new face is softer — with long hair covered by a hijab — but no less vicious. Some 550 Muslim women, including Americans, have joined the Islamic State. They want to kill you. They’re already trying.

Until terrorist profiles are updated, these women could pose the biggest threat to the homeland. That’s because U.S. authorities aren’t trained to look for teenage Muslim girls. They’re trained to spot young Muslim men acting suspiciously.

As a consequence, Jihad Janes could have an easier time getting past security checkpoints with weapons or bombs, which recent IS videos show they are training to use against Americans. (In one recent video, 45 Muslim women dressed in flowing black gowns and veils are seen firing AK-47 rifles at targets.)

Law enforcement officials were alarmed to learn this week that a quiet Muslim woman from the University of Alabama has been training with IS terrorists in Syria since November.

Hoda Muthana, 20, is now trying to recruit other Jihad Janes, while calling on all Muslims inside America to gun down or even run down families of fallen veterans and other participants at upcoming Memorial Day parades.

“Terrorize the kuffar (infidels) at home,” she tweeted.

“Americans wake up! Men and women altogether,” Muthana added. “You have much to do while you live under our greatest enemy, enough of your sleeping!”

“Go on drive-bys and spill all of their blood, or rent a big truck and drive all over them,” she continued in her bloodthirsty rant. “Veterans, Patriot, Memorial etc Day parades … go on drive bys + spill all of their blood or rent a big truck n drive all over them. Kill them.”

Muthana is not alone. More than a dozen young American Muslim women now have either joined the ranks of the savage IS terrorist group or plotted to carry out acts of terrorism in its name on American soil.

Among them:

• Asia Siddiqui, 31, who along with her Queens, N.Y., roommate Noelle Velentzas, 28, plotted for months to build a bomb to be used in a terrorist attack on American soil before the FBI busted the pair earlier this month. Siddiqui possessed propane tanks and instructions on how to use them as explosives.

• Keonna Thomas, a 30-year-old Muslim convert from Philadelphia, was arrested earlier this month for trying to aid IS terrorists and participate in their “martyrdom operations.”

• Authorities fear several Somali-American girls who have gone missing from their Minneapolis homes have managed to join the Islamic State.

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