An anti-Islam group has sparked controversy with the purchase of advertisements on San Francisco’s public buses that display the image of Adolf Hitler and accuse the religion of fostering anti-Semitism.
The group calling itself the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which sued New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority to run similar messages last year, purchased 50 large ads on San Francisco buses. They began appearing within days of attacks by Islamist militants in Paris that killed 12 people at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and another four at a Jewish supermarket. A policewoman was also shot dead.
“Islamic Jew hatred,” the ads read. “It’s in the Quran.”
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s Houston-based founder, Pamela Geller, was using the ads to stir up attention and raise money. The Council on American-Islamic Relations had countered past efforts by Geller with bus ads of its own but will not do that this time, he said.
“We’re not going to chase her from city to city trying to undo the hatred she promotes,” Hooper said. “We’d be doing little else. She seems to have an unending capacity for the promotion of hatred.”
Hooper said the majority of people will see the ads as “hate and intolerance and fear mongering.”
Geller said she had been working on placing the San Francisco ads since last spring.
“It’s the only way to leapfrog over the media,” she said. “It’s the only way to talk directly to the American people.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the American Freedom Defense Initiative as a hate group.
The group’s controversial ads have appeared in New York and Washington D.C., prompting outrage from politicians and civil rights leaders.
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) officials said the agency does not endorse the content of the ads and understands that people may be offended.
“However, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, including speech that is considered offensive,” SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said in an emailed statement.
“Refusing placement would almost certainly result in a lawsuit that forces the city to run the ads under court order, and we believe taxpayer dollars should be used to improve transit and the overall transportation network; not on lawsuits.”
(Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Ken Wills)
‘Another hoax’: Trump whines and rambles about Supreme Court and New York in latest meeting
After spending most of the day whining on Twitter, President Donald Trump spoke to the press from the White House Thursday afternoon to call questions about his taxes and financial documents a "witch hunt."
Trump has used the term to reference the Russia scandal, the Ukraine scandal, cases against Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, his friend Roger Stone and any other topics he chooses on any given day.
"Do you have a reaction to the Supreme Court rulings today?" asked a reporter that sounded like CNN's Kaitlan Collins.
"The rulings we're basically starting all over again," Trump said. "This is a political witch-hunt... it's a witch-hunt, it's a hoax, just like the Mueller investigation... this is purely political..."
White House says a lot of Americans are having that elective surgery they’ve been putting off since the pandemic
The White House is refusing to accept the fact that hospitalizations in coronavirus hotspot cities are spiking and ICU beds in many areas are near or over-capacity.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Thursday that the increase in hospitalizations across the country are due to "elective surgeries," and not COVID-19 patients fighting for their lives.
NBC News' Peter Alexander, noting that hospitalizations are up 50% asked McEnany, "How could the president say the country is in good shape right now?"
"Hospitalizations in a lot of these hospitals," McEnany replied, "about 10 to 40% are COVID, so a lot of hospitalizations aren't pertaining to COVID."
Updated species extinction list signals ‘urgent action needed to save life on earth’
More than one in four of the 120,372 plant and animal species assessed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature are at risk of extinction.
The U.S.-based Center for Biological Diversity warned Thursday of the "urgent action needed to save life on Earth" in response to a new global assessment revealing that nearly 27% of over 120,000 analyzed plant and animal species are now threatened with extinction.
"At this point it's a matter of political will to rapidly move away from fossil fuels, stamp out the wildlife trade, and overhaul the toxic ways we produce food."—Tierra Curry, CBD