UPDATE 9/25/2012 12:45 pm: Barely a day later, and the ads in many stations have already been creatively defaced by a what appears to be vigilante poster graffiti.
(New York, NY – WNYC) A controversial ad is now up in ten New York City subway stations. The ad features two Stars of David and paraphrases a quote by Ayn Rand, saying, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man,” followed by the tag line, “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."
The American Freedom Defense Initiative, an advocacy group, paid $6,000 to buy space for the message. The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority turned down the ad when the group submitted it a year ago on grounds that it violated a provision in the authority's advertising code that bars “demeaning” speech. A federal court ruled last week that the ad was protected under the First Amendment (full ruling here).
Javerea Khan, a 22 year-old student from the Bronx who is a Muslim of Pakistani origin, disapproved of the message. “It’s hard for me to look at this poster and actually take it seriously," she said, adding that most Muslims view jihad primarily as "an inner struggle to be closer to God. But when your religion is attacked, you go out and fight against it. We need to fight against this bigotry."
Paul Plunkett, a 29 year-old tourist from Georgia, viewed the ad differently. "I agree with it," he said. "I agree in supporting Israel. We help set up the country, we might as well. They're our strongest ally in the Middle East. And any religious extremism should be put down: jihad would be Muslim extremism."