CAIR-Philadelphia Condemns Bigoted Anti-Muslim Ads on SEPTA Buses, Urges SEPTA to Donate Money from Ads to City’s Homeless Population
CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Jacob Bender and Staff Attorney Ryan Tack-Hooper are available for media interviews about the response of the Philadelphia Muslim community to the anti-Muslim ads that will begin running this week on SEPTA buses. Call 267-515-6711 or 267-515-6712 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an immediate interview.
“These ads are despicable and false, but fall under First Amendment protections,” Jacob Bender, CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director said. “The people behind these ads are part of a well-funded nation-wide Islamophobic campaign pushing a clearly hate-inspired message on the citizens of our fair city. One can only imagine the revulsion that tens of thousands of Muslim citizens will feel getting onto SEPTA buses.”
“The First Amendment protects everyone, the hateful and the loving alike,” according to Staff Attorney Ryan Tack-Hooper. “Instead of suppressing dishonest and offensive speech, the American tradition is to respond with speech of our own. You can be sure we will.”
CAIR-Philadelphia is asking SEPTA to donate the money they have received from the sponsors of these spiteful ads to organizations serving the city’s homeless population, thus turning hate into an action of charity and love. Read more…
March 12, 2015
Ads linking Islam to Hitler may soon be seen on city buses around Philadelphia following a federal judge’s ruling that the group behind the ad campaign is protected by free speech.
Ryan Tack-Hooper, an attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations Pennsylvania, said though he thinks the ads are false and hateful, SEPTA can’t argue with the Constitution.
“SEPTA’s in a tough spot because people want to see them fight this, but at the same time, we don’t want to have SEPTA damaging the First Amendment,” Tack-Hooper said. “This is not about SEPTA giving in. I think they’ve already gone above the call of duty by fighting this in the district court.”
Tack-Hooper said it’s not unlike allowing Nazi groups to march, or letting the Klu Klux Klan organize a public speech.
“One of the virtues of free speech is that bad ideas get expressed, and when we counter those bad ideas with knowledge and education, the people who previously might have harbored those ideas have the opportunity to reconsider,” Tack-Hooper said.
by Jeremy Roebuck and Michael Matza
March 12, 2015
SEPTA’s efforts to block city bus ads proclaiming “Jew Hatred: It’s in the Quran” violate free-speech protections and should be halted, a federal judge has found.
“These ads are despicable and false, but fall under First Amendment protections,” Jacob Bender, executive director of the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), said Thursday. “We have no problem with the judge’s ruling, but have a great amount of antipathy for AFDI pushing a clearly hate-inspired, anti-Muslim message on the citizens of our fair city. One can only imagine the revulsion that tens of thousands of Muslim citizens will feel getting onto SEPTA buses and trolleys” bearing the ad.
“The First Amendment protects everyone, the hateful and the loving alike,” added CAIR staff attorney Ryan Tack-Hooper. “Instead of suppressing dishonest and offensive speech, the American tradition is to respond with speech of our own. You can be sure we will.”