American Muslims are important members of the Washington metro region through their service in government, as volunteers, as doctors, teachers and neighbors. These men, women and children must not be put in a position where a simple trip to their place of work, their house of worship, or the grocery store would simultaneously be an experience of condemnation.
This week Pamela Geller, through the American Freedom Defense Initiative, placed 4 ads in the WMATA system which read: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad”. By equating generalized “savages” with “jihad”, the ads wrongly paint all Muslims as savages and suggest that these generalized “savages” must be defeated. At a time when American Muslims are increasingly targeted for hate crimes, we are deeply concerned that the broad public display of this message, which clearly demonizes Muslims and suggests violence against them, has a dangerous, cumulative impact on our region and on society at large.
As residents of the Washington metro region, we urge you to continue your leadership in working to reject the message of these ads by refusing to profit from them. Instead, choose to donate all proceeds to an appropriate, local DC organization that supports the human rights of all area residents. By redirecting funds meant to espouse hate to this important effort, you will effectively counter the growth of discrimination in Washington, D.C.