Anti-Muslim Group Can’t Post Ads on Buses: US Federal Court
A federal appeals court has maintained a ruling against an anti-Muslim group that wanted to post advertisements on King County Metro buses.
In the state of Washington, an anti-Muslim group cannot post ads on buses showing pictures of wanted terrorists and wrongly claiming that the FBI offers a $25 million reward for each capture, a federal appeals court ruled.
The panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which consisted of three judges, rejected a claim made by the American Freedom Defense Initiative that King County violated its First Amendment right to free speech by refusing to post the advertisements on buses.
Pamela Geller, the leader of the group which had earlier organised a Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) cartoon contest in Texas that had ended in violence, has put up similar ads in other cities. She had gone to court after some transportation officials in Washington had refused to display the ads.
The American Freedom Defense Initiative sought to display an ad in Washington state called “Faces of Global Terrorism,” which included 16 photographs of militants with their names listed and said, “AFDI Wants You to Stop a Terrorist.” It is also said that the FBI offers a $25 million reward to capture one of the people shown. However, the appeals court agreed that the claim about the reward was false.
King County Metro Transit rejected the banner, saying it failed to meet advertising policy guidelines that prohibit ads that are “false or misleading, demeaning or disparaging or harmful or disruptive to the transit system.”
All in all, the federal court and appeals court ruled in favor of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which refused to run two “pro-Israel/anti-jihad” ads on its buses, saying the ads were demeaning to Muslims.