SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Another round of controversial ads appearing on San Francisco Muni buses demands an end to U.S. aid to Islamic countries, stating that “Islamic Jew-Hatred: It’s In The Quran,” while depicting Adolf Hitler as an ally of the Muslim world.
The black and white campaign, which features a picture of Adolf Hitler, “..and his staunch ally, the leader of the Muslim world, Haj Amin al-Husseini” appeared on at least one San Francisco Muni bus Monday, and may have first appeared in the fall.
Al-Husseini was a Palestinian nationalist and Muslim leader who opposed Zionism and collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II.
The ad got the attention of the Reddit San Francisco community on Sunday, with some 200 comments debating the free speech merits of the content.
That same debate played out late last year on the East Coast, where the campaign were approved to run in Washington D.C. and New York, but was blocked in Philadelphia, leading to a federal court case.
The ad is paid for by the American Freedom Defense Institute, the same group behind a 2013 campaign which featured quotes from terrorists including one that read “Killing Jews is worship that draws us closer to Allah.”
At that time, organizer Pamela Geller defended the campaign by saying, “The purpose of our campaign is to show the reality of Jihad, the root causes of terrorism. Using the exact quotes and text that they use.”
At the time, Muni and its ad subcontractor decided the signs were well within First Amendment guidelines. However, the transit system decided not to make any money over the controversy, and instead donated the proceeds – about $5,000 – to the Human Rights Commission.
Geller, whose group also ran an ad campaign in 2012 on Muni buses that referred to Muslims as “savages,” criticized city officials who denounced her advertising, saying “I am merely using high-profile Muslims and their own words.”
The current ads list the website IslamicJewHatred.com as the group website, but that simply redirects to Geller’s promotional page.
Muni says it had to run the ads, and could have faced a lawsuit if the agency refused.
“We certainly understand that people would be offended by these types of ads, but the first amendment protects all speech,” Muni Spokesperson Paul Rose said.