This ad ran on Detroit SMART buses here
While the ads may offend some, SMART’s Beth Dryden tells Shea they met the system guidelines and were vetted by their legal department.
March 3, Crain’s: Additionally, because the ads are what SMART considers “viewpoint-neutral content” the agency can’t reject them, she said. That’s because a government agency cannot censor such content, which is protected by the First Amendment.
Got that? Good.We submitted the ad below to this same transit agency in Detroit/Dearborn, SMART, and we were DENIED. This ad was rejected:
The proposed advertisement submitted by Pamela Geller has been reviewed under SMART’s content policy. SMART, consistent with its review process, also reviewed the referred-to website: thetruthaboutmuhammed.com. Consistent with its policy, with the Sixth Circuit opinion in AFDI v SMART, and consistent with other law, SMART declines to post the advertisement.
Our message parallels the atheist ads. Since they were accepted, I modeled this ad after theirs, to see if the freedom of speech applied to criticism of Islam in our cowardly and politically correct age. This is the same government agency that refused to run our “Leaving Islam?” ads that were designed to help Muslim girls who wanted to lead more Western lives escape dangerous devout households. SMART refused. My legal team, David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise of the American Freedom Law Center and I sued. We won. They appealed to the 6th circuit court (a sharia-sensitive court). The Sixth Circuit said that the ad was a political ad — SMART doesn’t run political ads. So in my quest to fight on, I wanted to point out their hypocrisy as we go back to court. This rejection does just that. We fight on.
Conservative’s Anti-Muhammad Ad Rejected by Detroit Transit System — But Can You Guess Which Ad Was Accepted?
Religious advertisements have been known to spark intense debate. Consider the anti-God billboards that are regularly posted by non-theist groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation and American Atheists. But it isn’t only non-believers who invoke controversy with their messaging.
Pamela Geller and her American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) have also come under intense scrutiny for subway and bus ads that target Islamic extremism. Now, the AFDI is embroiled in a new battle over a proposed anti-Muhammad ad that was rejected this week by Detroit’s Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) bus system.
In an e-mail to TheBlaze on Tuesday evening, the AFDI president noted that, while SMART previously accepted an “anti-God” atheist ad from the Detroit Coalition for Reason (DCOR), the public transit company has rejected her organization’s ad. This is particularly interesting, seeing as the AFDI modeled its design almost entirely after the DCOR’s banner.
“Our ad, same ad, with one word flipped, was rejected,” Geller told TheBlaze.
The original atheist design featured clouds and the words, “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone.” The organization’s web address was also present to the bottom left of the ad, sending Internet users to a web site that encourages people to “shine the light of reason” and to reject faith and religion.