CAIRO - Billboards condemning Islam and linking the faith to terrorism in New York are forcing a review of policies of non-commercial advertisements to avoid insults against religions.
"The MTA sells advertising space to raise revenue to support mass transit operations, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said in a statement cited by Greenwich Time.
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"It's not Islamophobia, It's Islamorealism," read one of the billboards, funded by an anti-Islam group called the American Freedom Defense Initiative.
The group argues that attacks by Islamic militants have surged since the 9/11.
"The ad simply states a fact," Pamela Geller, an activist who is notorious for criticism of Islam, said.
There have been well over 19,000 jihad terror attacks since 9/11. Nowhere does the ad say that all Muslims endorse them -- the idea that it does is media fabrication.
Geller said the anti-Islam ads, which will run until September 2, are counter to billboards critical of Israel.
"I hope people will gain a new understanding of the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat," Geller said.
Last month, ads were placed at Metro-North Railroad to highlight the plight of millions of Palestinian refugees because of the creation of Israel on the rubble of Palestine.
The ads showed a two-color map of Israel labeled Palestinian Loss of Land - 1946 to 2010. They showed the gradual transfer of land from Palestine to Israel since the creation of the Jewish state.
"Our posters show historical information without any editorial comment," said Henry Clifford, a retired Wall Street broker and a member of the Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine.
"I am not currently planning any ads but I am considering options to definitely do something additional in the future."
But the war of billboards has prompted the transport authority to review its advertisement policy.
"The MTA does not decide whether to allow a proposed advertisement based upon its viewpoint and the MTA does not endorse the viewpoint in this or any other paid advertisement, it said in a statement.
MTA is currently reviewing its policy of accepting non-commercial viewpoint advertisements."
The anti-Islam ads have upset many commuters.
"This is the time to bridge the gap between Islam and the West and not to create tensions," said Shahzad Khawaja, a Stamford Muslim
"Our Stamford Muslim community believes in giving back and we do projects to serve mankind selflessly."
Simone Harris, of Norwalk, was also critical.
"They shouldn't have it up because all it does is add to an environment where everybody is mad and fighting each other," Harris, who commutes into the Darien station, said.
"All it seems to do is insult and upset people and if people want to have their view respected they should show respect."
Since 9/11, Muslims, estimated between six to seven million, have become sensitized to an erosion of their civil rights, with a prevailing belief that America was stigmatizing their faith.
Anti-Muslim sentiments sharply grew in the United States over plans to build a mosque near the 9/11 site in New York, resulting in attacks on Muslims and their property.A recent report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the University of California said that Islamophobia is on the rise in the US.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net