Nearly three years ago, the Detroit Coalition of Reason put up bus ads in the city:
Anyway, I bring this up because Pamela Geller (the reviled-for-good-reason critic of Islam and Muslim extremism) along with her American Freedom Defense Initiative are trying to put up a bus ad of their own in Detroit, a city home to hundreds of thousands of Muslims.
And she’s modeling it after the Detroit CoR’s ad:
That’s a clever move. By essentially creating the same ad, but replacing the word “God” with “Muhammad,” you’re basically telling the bus system: “You accepted the atheists’ ad, so you have to accept ours, too!” (Though Allah would have been a closer replacement than Muhammad.)
Guess how that turned out?
“Our ad, same ad, with one word flipped, was rejected,” Geller told TheBlaze.
Geller is calling that response “sharia compliance in accordance with blasphemy laws under Islam.”
You could argue the atheists’ ad focused on a generic “God” while this ad focuses on a very specific religious figure… but Geller’s certainly not thinking along those lines.
You could also argue that the Detroit CoR’s website reaches out specifically to atheists without disparaging those of religious faith, while Geller’s website is pretty damn offensive (to Muslims… and your eyes).
CBS Outdoors is the company that rejected the ad and a spokesperson explained the company’s reasoning:
“The proposed advertisement submitted by Pamela Geller has been reviewed under [Detroit bus system] SMART’s content policy. SMART, consistent with its review process, also reviewed the referred-to website: thetruthaboutmuhammed.com,” read [Howard] Marcus’ e-mail. “Consistent with its policy, with the Sixth Circuit opinion in AFDI v SMART, and consistent with other law, SMART declines to post the advertisement.”
If the sign didn’t include the website URL, maybe Geller would have a case, since the message on it certainly isn’t offensive.
In fact, I’d love to see Geller try again without the URL. If that ad got rejected, we’d have a real conversation on our hands.