Thursday, July 2, 2015

Pam Geller sues D.C. transit over ad flap: 'Abridging our freedoms so as not to offend savages is surrender'

Pamela Geller, co-founder and president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, filed a lawsuit against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, alleging the government entity violated the First Amendment by refusing to run her political ad about radical Islamism.

Geller's AFDI sent in an ad to the WMATA in May that contained an image of an angry man wearing a turban and wielding a sword, with a bubble by his mouth and the text: "You can't draw me!" Another bubble below contained the words: "That's why I draw you." The ad also blared the phrase: "Support free speech."

The ad is from a "Draw Muhammad" event organized by AFDI in Texas, during which police shot and killed two would-be Islamist terrorists who tried to storm the venue.

WMATA, about a week after Geller filed the application, denied the ad and announced it was no longer going to accept any type of "issue-oriented advertising" at all, the Daily Caller reported. The WMATA told the Daily Caller News Foundation the ban on issue-oriented advertisements wasn't related to any particular ad application or organization, but Geller finds the announcement curiously coincidental.

"It's an end run around the first amendment," she said, to the Daily Caller.

Geller accused the WMATA of violating her First Amendment rights; she's suing for damages on that point, as well as for legal fees.

She said, to the Daily Caller: "The West is the target for Islamic terrorism. The whole country is on heightened alert for an Islamic State attack on July 4th. Abridging our freedoms so as not to offend savages is surrender and un-American. It results in more demands, more surrender, more capitulation to sharia law (which is what WMATA did)."

In 2012, Geller won a similar lawsuit against the WMATA over an ad that portrayed Adolph Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini, alongside the text: "Staunch ally, the leader of the Muslim world." The ad also contained the text: "Islamic Jew-Hatred: It's in the Quran."

Geller just faced down a similar ad flap in New York. There, she tried to post ads on the city bus system of a menacing man with a masked face with text, "That's his Jihad. What's yours?" The ad also read: "Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah."

As WND previously reported, the MTA board reacted by banning all forms of political advertisement and a federal court later rubber-stamped the move, ruling the agency could indeed do that.

Geller's attorney, Robert Muise, objected to the move and vowed to appeal, saying: "The government should not be permitted to violate the First Amendment and then on the heels of an adverse court decision simply modify its rules to avoid the consequences of its unlawful behavior."

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