United Methodist Women buy ad to counter anti-jihad Metro message


A new chapter is unfolding in the controversy over an advertisement in several metro stations. A group has placed an ad of their own in response to the pro-Israel ad a court ordered Metro to install.

The new ad says, "Hate speech is not civilized. Support peace in word and deed." The advertisement was paid for by United Methodist Women as a part of their Shoulder-to-Shoulder campaign, a partnership with 23 other faith organizations. The ad will be placed in the Glenmont, Takoma Park, and Woodley Park stations.

The group is also placing the new ad in New York City and San Francisco transit stations, where the same pro-Israel ads have been installed.

"It's provocative...gonna get a response from it," said Metro rider Willy Cowles.

The ad is a counter attack on last week's installation of anti-jihad signs, which read, "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."

The American Freedom Defense Initiative sponsored the ad.

Metro rider Kelvin Walker said of the anti-jihad ad, "It's a little gotta have discretion in what you say."

Some have called the American Freedom Defense Initiative ads hate messages.

Graffiti was found on the posters in New York City and San Francisco.

Despite Metro's concerns about negative reactions, a judge ruled the posters had to be installed in stations last week.

Many who've seen both ads said they are simply free speech.

Edan Lichtenstein, who also takes the Metro, said, "'I'm all for anything that promotes free speech...that's what we are getting right now from the politicians."

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett released a statement Monday on last week's installation of the pro-Israel ad. It read, in part:

"I am very disturbed by advertisements placed within the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) system by an organization that calls itself 'The American Freedom Defense Initiative'..."This is Hate Speech - pure and simple. It's purpose is not to educate, but to incite -- not to promote a point of view but rather to paint those with a different perspective as 'savages' or proponents of 'jihad'...Just because one can express extreme views under the freedom of expression we all hold dear does not mean one should...Montgomery County residents - whether they are Christians or Jews or Muslims or another faith or of no faith at all - have no use for this kind of intolerance."