In the wake of protests, riots, murder, and mayhem perpetrated by Muslims who claim to be angered by a YouTube video that was critical of Islam, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York (MTA) is making final arrangements – by order of a federal judge – to display an advertisement on its buses that is critical of savage acts committed by jihadists against Israel.
The specific advertisement, which is sponsored by a human rights organization, the Freedom Defense Initiative (FDI), and its executive directors, Pamela Geller, and Robert Spencer, states, “In Any War Between the Civilized Man and the Savage, Support the Civilized Man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
The MTA had initially refused to run the advertisement in September 2011 because it claimed that it violated the MTA’s policy against displaying “images or information that demean an individual or group of individuals on account of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation.”
As a result of the MTA’s refusal to run the advertisement, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC), a national non-profit Judeo-Christian law firm, filed a civil rights lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of FDI, Geller, and Spencer, challenging the speech restriction. On July 20, 2012, Federal Judge Paul A. Engelmayer issued a preliminary injunction, ruling that the MTA’s speech restriction violated the First Amendment. However, the court granted the MTA thirty days to attempt to cure the violation by amending its “no-demeaning” regulation.
On August 29, 2012, Judge Engelmayer issued a final ruling striking down the MTA’s “no-demeaning speech” restriction and ordering the MTA to display the bus advertisement. The order converted the preliminary injunction into a permanent injunction, and it declared that the MTA speech regulation violated the First Amendment right to free speech. The judge also awarded FDI nominal damages.
The MTA had until September 12, 2012 to seek a stay of the district judge’s order with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The MTA failed to obtain the stay. Consequently, the MTA is now required to run the advertisement. And if it does not do so promptly, it will risk being held in contempt of the court’s order.
David Yerushalmi, Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of AFLC, commented: “In light of the Obama administration’s dhimmitude and abject weakness in the face of savage attacks against U.S. personnel through coordinated violence directed at American sovereignty embodied by our embassies and consulates in the Muslim Middle East, the court’s ruling in favor of our cherished First Amendment right to criticize violence driven by Islam’s law of sharia sends a message to our enemies around the world and here at home: Americans will not be cowed into silence. We know when America is under attack when we see it. If speech critical of Islam can send men into wild murderous rages, then they are savages and deserve to be labeled as such.”
Robert Muise, Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of AFLC, commented: “What should be evident to every freedom loving American who is watching the events unfold in the Middle East is that sharia is contrary to our fundamental constitutional rights. Under our Constitution, government officials have a constitutional duty to stop a violent mob intent on suppressing speech. Indeed, in our society, which is guided by Judeo-Christian principles, free speech and religious freedom are protected against censorship or punishment. There is no room under our Constitution for a more restrictive view. Judge Engelmayer’s decision in this case upholds and protects those precious American freedoms that the Obama administration is quick to cast aside in favor of its appease-Muslims-at-all-costs policy.”