CAIRO - Extending hate message to the western American coast, controversial blogger Pamela Geller has posted new inflammatory anti-Islam advertisements on San Francisco municipal buses, a move rejected by the state leaders and Muslims as igniting divisions in the society.
"These offensive ads serve no purpose than to denigrate our city's Arab and Muslim communities," District Attorney George GascÃ³n told San Francisco Chronicle.
The ads, paid for by the controversial American Freedom Defense Initiative, feature photos of Osama bin Laden, a victim of the Fort Hood mass shooting accompanied by incendiary quotes invoking weapons and warfare and linking them to Islam.
Jihad Ad War on American Streets
My Jihad Fights US Muslim Stereotyping
My Jihad in Washington
US Muslims Campaign For True Jihad
One quote attributed to "Hamas MTV," reads: "Killing Jews is worship that brings us closer to Allah."
The ads closely mimic the style of a separate campaign run last September when Geller championed a campaign on New York subway linking jihad to savagery.
City leaders including Mayor Ed Lee, GascÃ³n and Supervisors David Chiu, John Avalos, London Breed, Malia Cohen, Jane Kim, Scott Wiener and Norman Yee immediately condemned the advertisements as racist and Islamophobic.
While some courts have found these ads may have First Amendment privileges, that doesn't mean that as a city we can't condemn them with the strongest possible statement," Chiu, told KQED, Public Media for Northern California.
Theresa Sparks, executive director of the city's Human Rights Commission, shared a similar opinion.
Just think in terms of the young kids, the young Arab and Muslim kids who have to ride these buses with this message on the outside, she said.
Or the MUNI bus drivers, who have to drive these buses with this message on the outside.
Just think of what it has to do to them; their self-esteem, their families, she added.
Discussing the inflammatory ads in Tuesday's board meeting, Chiu will introduce a resolution requesting that the proceeds from the ads be used to fund a study on the impact of post 9-11 hate and discrimination on Arab and Muslim communities.
The ad war launched by anti-Islam Geller has troubled US Muslims, accusing her of fuelling hatred and intolerance in the society.
Over the years, as (Geller's) placed these ads we've heard from young people as well as adults who've seen these messages, who've said that it makes them uncomfortable to ride the buses, that it makes them worry about their safety, that it makes them think twice about how people are looking at them, said attorney Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in San Francisco.
It undermines the very fabric of multiculturalism that we are trying to build in San Francisco and the larger Bay Area.
In response to Geller's war, CAIR launched a billboard campaign to explain the true and proper meaning of Jihad as believed and practiced by the majority of Muslims.
The campaign, which reached Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, includes putting up public ads on buses and trains as well as social media websites as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, where users are asked to tweet what their Jihad (struggle) is using the #MyJihad hashtag.
US Muslims, estimated at between seven to eight million, have been sensing hostility in recent months.
A recent report by CAIR, the University of California and Berkeley's Center for Race and Gender found that Islamophobia in the US is on the rise.
A US survey had also revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.
A recent Gallup poll had found that 43 percent of Americans Nationwide admitted to feeling at least a little prejudice against Muslims.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net