Updated at 2:25 p.m.
Pamela Geller’s anti-Muslim group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, will attempt to launch a new ad campaign in Washington, D.C., using the winning image from the group’s controversial Muhammad cartoon contest held in Garland, Texas.
Geller, who has pushed for controversial anti-Islam ads in big city transit systems before, said she submitted the ads to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) in the hopes that the cartoon will run on city buses and in Metro train stations.
“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, we are running an ad featuring the winning cartoon by former Muslim Bosch Fawstin from our Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest in Garland, Texas,” Geller wrote in a statement on Breitbart.
WMATA confirmed to TPM that the transit authority received the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s ad request on Friday and that the ads are under review.
Two gunmen were killed when they opened fire on officers outside of the heavily guarded cartoon contest held earlier this month. Despite the attack on the event and criticism from conservatives, Geller has continued to defend the event, arguing that it’s an issue of free speech.
“Drawing Muhammad is not illegal under American law, but only under Islamic law. Violence that arises over the cartoons is solely the responsibility of the Islamic jihadists who perpetrate it. Either America will stand now against attempts to suppress the freedom of speech by violence, or will submit and give the violent the signal that we can be silenced by threats and murder,” Geller wrote on Breitbart. “We cannot submit to the assassin’s veto.”
Although the American Freedom Defense Initiative has pushed for controversial ads on public transportation before, the previous ads did not include depictions of the prophet Muhammad, which is considered blasphemous in the Muslim faith.
Geller successfully placed “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad” ads in San Francisco and New York, but she met resistance to the ads in Boston and Detroit. Last year, the family of James Foley, a journalist executed by the Islamic State, persuaded Geller not to run ads featuring an image from Foley’s beheading video.
Most recently, a federal judge ruled in April that the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority must run ads from Geller’s group. The ad depicts a man with a scarf across the face with the phrase, “Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah,” which is attributed to “Hamas MTV.” The bottom of the ad reads, “That’s his Jihad. What’s yours?”