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In the Wake of Oklahoma Beheading, The @NYDailyNews Slanders and Smears Pamela Geller and AFDI’s Jihad-Awareness Ads

In yet another textbook case of media malfeasance and fallacious reportage, the NY Daily News attacks us for modifying one of our jihad-awareness ads after a request was made by the Foley family.  It was never our intention to add to their pain, which was the sole reason why we changed the photo in the ad.

All of the other ads went up today and are running on 100 New York buses.

But the NY Daily sub-headline is reporting it this way:

 Foley’s parents joined critics saying the ads were bigoted and slanderous to law-abiding Muslims, prompting firebrand blogger Pamela Geller to pull the campaign and send a letter to the family.

The Foley family did not say our ads were bigoted and scandalous, but this statement from the NY Daily News certainly is. Here is what actually happened and what they actually said.

Mr. Foley was a dedicated journalist and teacher. He was committed to reporting on the suffering of innocents in conflict zones and demonstrating their shared humanity to his readers. Having lived in and reported from communities in which nearly everyone was 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.

We of course reject this claim.

The ads convey a stark reality and a brute fact: Islamic terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Shabaab, Ansar al-Sharia, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the Muslim Brotherhood, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and many more, have access and influence among the “moderate” Muslim communities around the globe for both recruiting purposes and financial support. Indeed, Western Muslims turned jihadists are far more likely to come from the community of “ordinary practitioners of Islam” than from any other community. (read the rest of our response here).

Consider how the media covers our ads, juxtaposed with their coverage of the Oklahoma beheading. The vitriol and venom directed and me, while scrubbing the beheading story of jihad and Islam. Jah’Keem’s Facebook page, his adherence to Islam, the shouting of Islamic verses during the beheading, the mosque that preached hate and jihad, are given very little if any coverage.

Jihadists are beheading journalists and journalists are out for my head.

“Blogger pulls anti-Islam MTA ads depicting James Foley before his beheading after criticism from Foley’s parents,” By Jennifer Fermino , Bill Hutchinson, NY Daily News, , Sunday, September 28, 2014

The ads, which were to run begining Monday on MTA buses and in subway stations, showed American journalist James Foley on his knees just prior to being killed. Foley’s parents joined critics saying the ads were bigoted and slanderous to law-abiding Muslims, prompting firebrand blogger Pamela Geller to pull the campaign and send a letter to the family.

Controversial blogger Pamela Geller pulled an anti-Islam ad showing journalist James Foley on his knees before his beheading.Controversial blogger Pamela Geller pulled an anti-Islam ad showing journalist James Foley on his knees before his beheading.

Controversial firebrand blogger Pamela Geller has pulled an anti-Islam ad featuring American journalist James Foley on his knees just prior to his beheading.

The ads were to run on MTA buses and in subway stations, but Foley’s parents joined elected officials in denouncing the campaign and asked Geller not to go through with it.

The ads were scheduled to begin running on Monday in New York and San Francisco, but Geller buckled to the 11th-hour pressure.

Geller sent a letter to the Foleys’ attorney announcing the ads will no longer run.

“As a mother, and one who still feels the pain of the hideous murders of many in her extended family by the Nazis, and with friends in Israel brutally affected by Islamic terrorism as a constant of daily life, Ms. Geller understands and feels intimately the pain your clients are suffering,” reads the letter by Geller’s lawyer, David Yerushalmi.

A SEPTEMBER 11, 2012 PHOTODavid Karp/ASSOCIATED PRESS Blogger Pamela Geller bought the MTA ads as a part of her long-running crusade against radical Islam.

“For this reason, and this reason alone, (Geller has) reached out as early as this morning to the New York and San Francisco transit authorities’ respective advertising agents to pull the displays depicting the captive Mr. Foley prior to his beheading.”

Geller’s group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, had bankrolled the $100,000 ad blitz, which was billed as an “education campaign” to wake up New Yorkers to the dangers of extremists groups like ISIS and Hamas.

But Foley’s parents and critics said the ads were bigoted and slanderous to law-abiding Muslims.

Public Advocate Letitia James slammed the MTA for green-lighting Geller’s ad in the first place.

Public Advocate Letitia James has begun an investigation of the MTA's ad policies.Vanessa A. Alvarez/AP Public Advocate Letitia James has begun an investigation of the MTA’s ad policies.

“The MTA’s advertising policies make no sense and are woefully inconsistent,” said James.

The MTA said it allowed the ad because courts have ruled that the transit system is a public forum, and that banning viewpoints from being expressed in that forum violates the constitutional right to free speech.

The public advocate “knows full well that a federal court ruling prevents us from banning the Geller ads,” said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz.

Yerushalmi said some of the Foley ads might still appear in public, given the last-minute decision by Geller, whose group frequently takes out ads highlighting Islamic terrorism.

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