As I explained yesterday, we honored a request by the Foley family and modified one of the ads in our series of jihad-awareness ads that went up today in New York City. Read the full story here. The replacement ad will be up this week.
We did not receive a “cease and desist” letter. The Foleys do not own the photo and they had no legal basis for their request. The murder of James Foley was an act of war, like 9/11, and it is worldwide news. We removed the photo because the Foleys said it would cause them further distress. It was for this reason and this reason alone that we expended substantial resources retooling the ad to accommodate Mr. Foley’s parents, but this is a compassionate effort we chose to undertake to express in a tangible way our sincere and quite personal condolences.
“Anti-Islam ads showing James Foley just before beheading pulled from New York City subway after complaint from victim’s family,” By Associated Press and Snejana Farberov for MailOnline, 29 September 2014
The ads were bankrolled by right-wing blogger Pamela Geller’s group American Freedom Defense Initiative
The group removed all references to James Foley after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from his parents’ attorney
A right-wing group running a series of anti-Islamic ads in New York City’s subway system is pulling a poster that shows captive journalist James Foley with the masked militant who decapitated him.
The ads were bankrolled by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) led by blogger Pamela Geller. They are being yanked after criticism from the slain journalist’s grieving parents.
Geller’s attorney, David Yerushalmi, said the Foley family were notified that the ads depicting Foley moments before he is beheaded by a masked ISIS militant dubbed Jihadi John.were being pulled.Incendiary: The American Freedom Defense Initiative had been planning to put up this anti-Muslim ad featuring an image of James Foley in New York City and San Francisco subways
Cease and desist: The group was forced to alter the ad after getting a letter from the Foley family expressing their opposition to the use of a frame from the beheading video
Yerushalmi added that he wrote their lawyer that ‘Geller understands and feels intimately the pain’ they are suffering.
The attorney told the New York Post that other anti-Islamic ads, slated to appear in New York and San Francisco, will go forward this week.
The original ad featured an image showing the alleged killer, described in the media as an aspiring rapper, in a recording studio accompanied by the caption: ‘Executioner who beheaded reporter before he became Jihadist.’
On the right-hand side of the poster there was a still from the infamous beheading video captioned: ‘Executioner who beheaded reporter after becoming devout.’
Above the photos a headline blared: ‘Yesterday’s moderate is today’s headline.’
A tagline printed in red at the bottom of the page read: ‘It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.’
On her website, Pamela Geller shared an altered version of the ad with all references to the Foley beheading removed, along with his photo.
The AFDI instead used another image of the alleged executioner holding someone else’s pixilated severed head.
Grieving parents: A lawyer representing Diane and John Foley sent a letter to the anti-Islam group informing them that the message expressed by the ad goes against everything their son stood for
The cease and desist letter informed the AFDI that running the ad will cause the Foleys ‘profound distress’
A lengthy blog post about the anti-Islamic advert included the letter sent to Geller by attorney Patrick Rowan from the firm McGuire Woods LLP representing Diane and John Foley.
In his letter, the lawyer asked on behalf of James Foley’s family to withdraw the ad and stop using it.
‘Having lived in and reported from communities in which nearly everyone as of Muslim faith, he had great respect for the religion and those who practiced it.
‘The advertisement you are preparing to run seems to convey the message that ordinary practitioners of Islam are a dangerous threat.
‘This message is entirely inconsistent with Mr Foley’s reporting and his beliefs.’
Mr Rowan concluded his letter by warning the organization that using James Foley’s image to draw funding and attention to the AFDI will cause his family ‘profound distress.’
Firebrand: Right-wing blogger Pamela Geller is one of the founder of the controversial group behind the ads
Pamela Geller responded to the cease-and-desist letter by explaining that the aim of the group’s $100,000 campaign is to inform the public, not to cause harm.
‘The common thread that runs through the jihad in Syria, Iraq, Gaza, Nigeria, China, Thailand, Israel, Chechyna, Moscow, London, Madrid, Burma and ….. Oklahoma is a devout adherence to Islam,’ read the blog post. ‘So many Muslims now flocking to the Middle East were previously “moderate.” It is when they become devout that they engage in a bloody and vicious holy war.
‘Clearly, it’s not all Muslims, but there is a problem in Islam and we are prohibited from talking about it. Which is why our ad campaign is so essential.’
Ms Geller further explained that the Foley ad was about stopping the next beheading by exposing the dangerous ideology of Jihad.
Writing on the wall: In 2012, Geller’s group put up ads in the New York Subway saying calling on the public to support Israel in the battle against Jihad
Last week, a coalition of politicians and religious leaders held a press conference in front of City Hall denouncing the anti-Muslim adverts, CBS New York reported.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams went so far as to compare the incendiary ads to yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded room.
The American Freedom Defense Initiative has put up similarly controversial ads in subway stations in the past.
In 2012, the group released a poster in support of Israel those engaged in Jihad ‘savages.’
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it had signed off on the latest batch of ads because under a federal court ruling, banning controversial viewpoints from being expressed in a public forum amounts to a violation of the the First Amendment to the US Constitution,
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