Stung by a court ruling that would force it to run a controversial ad from an anti-Muslim group on its buses, New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority may adopt a new policy that could let it ban the ad after all.
In a letter submitted on Friday to U.S. District Judge John Koeltl in Manhattan, an MTA lawyer said the agency's board plans on April 29 to vote on a proposal to adopt a new advertising policy that would transform MTA property into a "limited public forum," enabling the agency to exclude "all advertisements of a political nature."
The MTA believes such a policy would allow it to ban an ad from the American Freedom Defense Initiative, portraying a man wearing a scarf around his face, with a quotation "Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah" attributed to "Hamas MTV," and below that, "That's His Jihad. What's yours?"
Koeltl had on Tuesday said the MTA's refusal to run that ad violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, because the agency had not shown that the display could incite terrorism or imminent violence.
A lawyer for the American Freedom Defense Initiative was not immediately available for comment.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Ted Botha)