Washington bus advertising links Adolf Hitler to Islam
Bus advertising linking "Islamic Jew-hatred" with Adolf Hitler is on the streets of Washington, and the US capital's mass-transit authority says it is legally powerless to ban it.
The ads on 20 Metro buses feature a photo of the Nazi German dictator in conversation with "his staunch ally" Haj Amin al-Husseini, grand mufti of Jerusalem during the second world war.
"Islamic Jew-hatred: It's in the Quran. Two-thirds of all US aid goes to Islamic countries. Stop racism. End all aid to Islamic countries," the ad states, over a fine-print disclaimer from the Metro transit authority.
The ads, which are to run until mid-June, were placed by the American Freedom Defence Initiative (Afdi), aiming to "raise awareness of the depredations of Islamic supremacism", according to the Afdi website.
It hopes the campaign, which has been condemned by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair), will raise US$20,000 by Friday via an online crowd-funding campaign that, as of Tuesday, had yielded about US$7,500.
"We're not able to refuse ads on the basis of content," an official for Metro said, citing a 2012 court case that allowed another Afdi bus advertisement on the grounds that it was free speech protected by the US Constitution.
On its website, Afdi co-founder Pamela Geller called the campaign a direct response to like-sized Washington bus adverts that were placed in April by American Muslims for Palestine which read: "Stop US aid to Israel's occupation",
"So many folks are unaware of Islamic history and the role of [the] Muslim world during the Holocaust... Let's buy more ads," Geller wrote on her website that included a link to the Indiegogo fundraising page.
As Muslim leader in then British-ruled Palestine, Husseini, who lived in Berlin for much of the war as a guest of the Nazi regime, sought Hitler's support for an Arab and Muslim homeland that would be free of Jews.
Cair spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said that such "inflammatory" ads were clearly intended "to promote hatred of Islam and Muslims" while at the same time whipping up publicity to raise funds for Afdi.
He said that Cair, a Muslim civil rights group, was developing its own bus ads "to promote mutual understanding as a response to Geller's hate ad".