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California: Controversial Bus Advertisements

By: KPIX/CBS
By: KPIX/CBS

If the point of advertising is to get your message heard, these bus ads are very successful.

Ten ads went up Wednesday on MUNI buses in San Francisco, Califronia. They point out what some terrorists have said. "Killing Jews is worship. Draws us closer to Allah", reads one.

Pamela Geller, of the American Freedom Defense Institute says, "The purpose of our campaign is to show the reality of Jihad. The root causes of terrorism. Using the exact quotes and text that they use."

She's with the group that put up similar billboards here last year. Those advertisements compared Israel's enemies as savages.

San Francisco DA George Gascon led a group of city leaders denouncing the ads.

"The only thing necessary for evil to prevail is for good people to look the other way and do nothing." Gascon said at a speech.

An Imam in Oakland, Salah el Seeiadi, says he feels that "when someone attacks our religion it's like they are attacking us."

Geller responds to her critics by saying, "I am merely using high profile Muslims and their own words. How does that paint every Muslim with the same brush? I don't understand that."

Is it hate speech or free speech? Doesn't seem to matter much with MUNI.

Can someone swear on a bus advertisement?

Paul Rose of MUNI responds to that question "Depends on the issue. Depends on the ad. Depends on what you are saying."

In this case, MUNI and its ad subcontractor decided it was well within first amendment guidelines. But the transit system decided not to make any money over the controversy.

Paul Rose of MUNI explains that "the revenue would be about 5 thousand dollars. But we're transferring that to the Human Rights Commission, to help support and encourage tolerance."

THE ADS ARE ON 10 OF MUNI'S 800 BUSES. AND SAN FRANCISCO ISN'T ALONE: THE ADS HAVE ALSO APPEARED IN WASHINGTON D-C AND CHICAGO.


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