127-Member Coalition Asks DC Transit to Support Anti-Hate Efforts in Wake of ‘Savage’ Ad

127-Member Coalition Asks DC Transit to Support Anti-Hate Efforts in Wake of ‘Savage’ Ad

A broad-based coalition of 127 organizations, led by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Jewish Voices for Peace – DC Metro (JVP) and the Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace (WIAMEP), today sent a letter to the Washington Area Metro Transit Authority (WMATA) expressing concern over advertisements now on display in DC-area metro stations sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop the Islamization of America (AFDI/SIOA), designated hate-groups led by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.

In its letter, the coalition requests that:

WMATA work closely with organizations representing impacted Muslim and Arab communities during all phases of the response and follow up to the ads.

WMATA take a similar approach to that of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) in response to these ads by placing disclaimers that show that the hate speech promulgated by such ads is not representative of the view of WMATA.

WMATA provide free space for counter ads, focused on promoting understanding and tolerance regarding the Greater Washington DC Metropolitan area’s various Muslim and Arab communities, and awareness of the harm caused by Islamophobia and anti-Arab hatred and discrimination.

In the letter, the coalition also states:

“With respect to your response in this matter, it is not our desire that WMATA disallow advertisements that contain any political speech as this would curtail the use of an important forum where ideas are frequently exchanged. We respect the protections afforded to political speech, and do not wish that our position be misinterpreted as advocating for the curtailment of such speech. This being said, we do believe there are measures WMATA can take to mitigate the effect hate speech has on the community and encourage you to take the above listed steps in crafting a principled and effective response.”

In an example of respecting free speech while choosing to promote tolerance, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency issued a statement noting that Geller’s piece“ has no value in facilitating constructive dialogue or advancing the cause of peace and justice” and donated the ad proceeds to the San Francisco Human Rights commission.

The ads strongly suggest that Arab or Muslim opponents of Israel’s policies are “savages.” Federal Judge Rosemary Collyer, who ruled last Friday that the ads could be placed in DC-area metro stations, called the advertisement “hate speech.” The ads were previously displayed in San Francisco and New York.

Pamela Geller is recognized as being at the core of a group promoting intolerance of Muslims and Arabs in America. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that monitors the hate movement in the United States, calls her “the anti-Islam movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead.”

The coalition is urging people of conscience to contact Washington, D.C., transit officials to ask that they help mitigate the negative impact of anti-Muslim advertisements.  You can take action HERE

- Coalition Letter to WMATA Board Chair Catherine Hudgins
- Coalition Letter to DC Metro Executives
- Statement from Chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors and SFMTA Director of Transportation on Advertisement


American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Jewish Voice for Peace - DC Metro Chapter (JVP)
Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace (WIAMEP)
Adhikaar for Human Rights and Social Justice
American Federation of Ramallah Palestine
American Friends Service Committee - South Region
American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) - Chicago Chapter
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) - DC Chapter
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) - Michigan Regional Office
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) - New Orleans Chapter
Americans Committed to Justice and Truth
Americans for a Just Peace in the Middle East
API Chaya
Arab American Action Network (AAAN) - Chicago, IL
Arab American of Central Ohio (AACO)
Asian American Justice Center, Member of Asian American Center for Advancing Justice
Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum
Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote
Asian Law Alliance
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO
Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership
Auburn Seminary
Baltimore Phil Berrigan Memorial Chapter Veterans For Peace
Brooklyn For Peace
Catholic Peace Fellowship - Philadelphia, PA
Center for Asian Pacific American Women
Central New York Working for a Just Peace in Palestine & Israel
Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel
Committee for Palestinian Rights - Howard County, MD
Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine
Community Leadership Institute
Companion Diocese Committee
Cornell University Students for Justice in Palestine
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) - Maryland Chapter
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) - SA Chapter
DC Riders for Peace
Delaware Neighbors Against the Occupation (DelNATO)
District of Columbia Conference of Lutheran Congregations
Dorchester People for Peace - Boston, CT
Episcopal Peace Fellowship - DC Chapter
Episcopal Peace Fellowship/Palestine Israel Network (EPFPIN)
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Franciscan Action Network
Franciscan Friars at St. Camillus Catholic Church
Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA)
Friends of Tent of Nations North America
GAZA Freedom March
Grassroots International
Hmong National Development
Howard County Muslim Council
Interdenominational Advocates for Peace
Interfaith Peace Initiative
Islamic Society of North America
Ithaca College Students for Justice in Palestine
Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)
Jewish Voice for Peace - Bay Area Chapter
Jewish Voice for Peace - Boston
Jewish Voice for Peace - Sacramento Area Chapter
Jews Against Islamophobia
Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ)
Jews Say No!
Laotian American National Alliance, Inc.
Madison-Rafah Sister City Project
Maine Voices for Palestinian Rights
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Maryland United for Peace and Justice
Methodist Federation for Social Action
Middle East Children’s Alliance
Middle East Committee of Women Against Military Madness - Minneapolis, MN
Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign (MN BBC)
Minnesota Coalition for Palestinian Rights
Montgomery County Muslim Council (MCMC)
Muslim Consultative Network (MCN)
National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) - Montgomery County Unit
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
National Council of Asian Pacific Americans
National Council of La Raza
National Korean American Service & Education Consortium
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (NYACT)
North American South Asian Bar Association
Northern Virginians for Peace and Justice
OCA National
Palestine-Israel Action Group of Ann Arbor Friends (Quaker) Meeting
Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace
Pax Christi - Metro DC-Baltimore
Pax Christi - USA
Peace Action
Peace Action - Montgomery
Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane (PJALS)
Peace X Peace
Sabeel - DC Metro
Sacramento Regional Coalition for Palestinian Rights (SRCPR)
Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund
South Asian Americas Leading Together (SAALT)
South Asian Bar Association of Washington DC
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
St. Francis of Assisi Pax Christi - Derwood, MD
St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee
Swarthmore Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine
Temple University Students for Justice in Palestine
The Coalition for Peace with Justice
Tree of Life Educational Fund
Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice in the National Capital Region
United Methodist Kairos Response
United Methodist Women
United Methodists’ Holy Land Task Force
University of Vermont Students for Justice in Palestine
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
USPAK Foundation
US Palestinian Community Network - DC Chapter (USPCN-DC)
US Peace Council
Veterans for Peace -DC Area Chapter 016
Veterans For Peace - Albuquerque,NM Chapter
Virginia for Middle East Peace
War Resisters League
Washington Region Religious Campaign Against Torture
Way to Jerusalem
Women in Black Union Square
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, DC Branch


On TAM, we have published a number of articles on the current controversy over a series of ads being published in public spaces across the country by the hate groups AFDI/SIOA.  These articles include many sources and references regarding discussion of different aspects of this controversy:

- Pamela Geller: A Tale of Two Bus Ads
- A Tale of Three Bigoted Ads
- AFDI/SIOA Bus Ads Inspired by Ayn Rand’s Racist Views of Arabs and Muslims?
- Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer announce new “Islamorealism” anti-Islam ad
- 17,000+ “Islamic terrorist” attacks exist only in fevered Islamophobic brains
- The origins of the term “Islamophobia”
- Bus Ads: Of Savages and Idiots
- 17,000+ “Islamic terrorist” attacks exist only in fevered Islamophobic brains
- Freedom of speech does not include freedom from condemnation of that speech
- Pamela Geller Does Not Understand Freedom of Speech
- American Muslims and Arabs respond to the ads.
- All extremists are “savages” and “civilized men” need to counter the hate
- How Muslims understand the term “jihad”
- Is vandalism an appropriate free speech response to hate speech? .
- The legal battle over AFDI/SIOA Anti-Muslim Ads
- American Jews Are Speaking Out Against Anti-Muslim Ads
- AFDI/SIOA Roll Out 9 More Anti-Muslim Ads 
- Americans support tolerance and reject hate about the ads being placed by Rabbis for Human Rights, Sojourners, and United Methodist Women.
- Could a boycott of public transport carrying AFDI/SIOA ads be effective?