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No Place for Statements Like This

Statement by Montgomery County Human Rights Commission on Demeaning Advertising Placed in Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Locations

October 31, 2012

“Recently, an organization called The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) placed the following ad within the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) system:

‘In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.’

“Although the Courts have found that this is protected political speech, realistically, when it is read as a reasonable person would read it, the AFDI ad plainly depicts Muslims – the primary adherents to this tenet of Islam – as ‘savages.’ This demeaning of a group of people based on religion or national origin and ancestry, is hateful and reprehensible. It does nothing to promote dialogue and, in fact, has the opposite effect.

“Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has issued a statement in response to this ad that clearly states that Montgomery County residents have no use for this kind of intolerance. We fully support the County Executive’s position.

“The Montgomery County Human Rights Commission works to eliminate discrimination, prejudice and intolerance, and to promote goodwill, cooperation, understanding and human relations among all residents. The hateful rhetoric expressed in the AFDI ad not only demeans the Muslim community but offends all of us. The Commission condemns this offensive language and requests that the AFDI remove or modify its ad and engage in civil discourse rather than hateful expressions.

“There is no place for statements like this in Montgomery County, and the Human Rights Commission will react vigorously to support any group or individual targeted in this manner.”

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