After a U.S. District Judge Mary Collyer ruled that anti-jihad advertisements be immediately installed in D.C. Metro stations last Friday, Georgetown students have launched a protest against the decision.
The anti-Muslim ads, which read, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad,” were paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative.
The Associated Press quoted David Yerushalmi, a lawyer representing the AFDI, Oct. 5. “The result is absolutely correct,” Yerushalmi said. “There simply was no way under the First Amendment jurisprudence that we have today that this ad should not have gone up when contracted.”
A petition against the ads created by Nabeel Zewail (SFS ’15) and Saaliha Khan (COL ’13) has garnered 1,618 signatures since it was first circulated Oct. 1.
“The United States was founded on the principle of tolerance and respect for all faith traditions; therefore, it is important that the D.C. Metro takes a strong stand,” the petition reads. “[The students of Georgetown University] feel that these ads have no place in the subway system of our nation’s capital.”
The D.C. Subway Commission temporarily postponed the installment of the ads last week in light of the violence incited by the release of “Innocence of Muslims,” a 14-minute video posted on YouTube Sept. 12 that insulted the Prophet Muhammad.
In response, the AFDI sued the D.C. transit system. The case went to the D.C. District Court, where a judge ruled that the postponement violated the AFDI’s right to free speech. Since then, the advertisements have been posted in four Metro stations, where they will hang for one month.
Zewail said he will continue to work against the installation of the ads despite the court’s ruling.
“Obviously, we are disappointed with the outcome of the case and wished the D.C. Metro would not post these hateful ads, but we are currently planning a response,” Zewail said. “We are focused on two goals: one, to continue to work to try to get the signs down and two, to counter their message of hate with a positive one about Islam and Muslims.”
Zewail and Khan have tabled in Red Square, advertised on Facebook and solicited the help of the Interfaith Council and the Muslim Students Association to promote their cause.
“I think, as a Catholic and person of faith, it’s important for us to stand up to this no matter what community is scapegoated,” Jordan Denari (SFS ’13), co-president of the Interfaith Council and practicing Catholic, said. “What we are realizing is that it is really our responsibility to step up and address this.”