Jewish groups join coalition against anti-Islam ads in US subways

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A group of Jewish organizations in the United States have joined a coalition of religious groups critical to an anti-Islam ad in the Washington DC metro system and urged that the profits made from the ad be donated to a charity.

“The placing of offensive, anti-Muslim ads in the D.C. Metro system is an important opportunity to affirm our commitment both to free speech and to a society that deplores hate and hate speech,” said Rabbi Batya Steinlauf, according to Global News Service of the Jewish People website.

Rabbi Steinlauf is the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington’s director of social justice and interfaith initiatives, and president of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington.
“We are all part of one community,” she told the website.

A similar ad in New York subway system was over-sprayed last month by Egyptian-American activist Mona Eltahway, who was briefly detained and argued that her move was an act of freedom of expression just as the ad was such.

The ad is currently placed in four train stations throughout the Washington area. It states: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
The religious coalition that consists of Christian, Jewish and Muslim groups released a letter signed by 168 religious clergy members calling for a ban on these ads, according to JTA.

The letter states that the “ads espouse inaccurate and inflammatory stereotypes about American Muslims. These ads equate generalized ‘savages’ with ‘jihad,’ dangerously painting all Muslims as savages and suggesting that these generalized ‘savages’ must be defeated.”