Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New York MTA Accepts Controversial Anti-Mosque Ad After Lawsuit Is Filed

After a lawsuit was filed on Friday, the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority agreed to permit a banner ad on its buses, sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative opposing the proposed mosque and Islamic center near Ground Zero. (Press release from David Yerushalmi law firm). The ad (photo) reads "Why There?",  and equates the"WTC Jihad Attack" with "WTC Mega Mosque". The federal lawsuit (full text of complaint in American Freedom Defense Initiative v. Metropolitan Transit Authority, (SD NY, Aug. 6, 2010), alleges that MTA's objections to the ad for equating the proposed mosque with the 9-11 attack amount to content- and viewpoint-based censorship in violation of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause. The complaint includes examples of other controversial religious and political ads accepted by MTA. Exhibits to the complaint also show various amended versions of the ad submitted during negotiations with MTA-- each changing the way in which the Twin Towers and the plane attack on them are depicted.