Days after anti-Muslim activist Pam Geller submitted an ad depicting the Prophet Muhammad to DC’s transit authority, its board opted to ban all “issue” advertisements on metro transit for the rest of the year. The motion to ban political, religious and other issue ads was put forward by Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Chairman Mort Downey, according to The Hill, and the Metro board approved it Thursday.
Geller announced Tuesday that her group American Freedom Defense Initiative was launching an ad campaign on DC buses and in train stations bearing the winning cartoon from the group’s Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas that became the target of an attempted shooting earlier this month.
In a statement posted on Breitbart.com, Geller said she was launching the ad campaign because “the media and the cultural and political elites continue to self-enforce the Sharia without the consent of the American people by refusing to show any depictions of Muhammad or showing what it was in Texas that had jihadists opening fire.”
Previously, her anti-Muslim ads had been displayed in the transit systems in cities including San Francisco and New York, where a federal judge reaffirmed her right to run them. A judge in Boston rejected her group’s motion to force the transit authority to run her ads there.
WMATA’s move to nix all issue-based advertisement appears to be an attempt to thwart the legal problems faced by other cities’ transit authorities when they resisted running controversial ads by Geller’s group. The American Freedom Defense Initiative did not come up in Thursday’s meeting, a spokesperson for WMATA told The Hill.
“In the coming months, Metro will fully consider the impact that issue-related advertisements have on the community by gathering input from riders, local community groups and advocates,” spokesman Michael Tolbert said in a statement to The Hill. “Metro will also carefully examine the legal concerns related to displaying, or discontinuing the display of, issue-related advertisements.”
The DC transit board will consider renewing its ban on issue ads at the end of the year.