Miami’s transit agency censored advertisements offering a resource to Muslims desiring to leave Islam after the Council on American-Islamic Relations complained and government officials worried the message “may be offensive to Islam.”
“This is living under Shariah (Islamic) law,” said the group behind the ads, Stop Islamization of America. “They are pulling our SIOA ads off the buses in South Florida because they offend Muslims.”
Ads pulled from Miami transit buses after CAIR complained
Miami Herald reporter Jaweed Kaleem reported the ads went up earlier this week but were expected to be removed as early as today.
The ads included the message “Fatwa on your head? Is your family or community threatening you?” and suggested a website called “Leave Islam.”
The Stop Islamization of America organization is led by Jihad Watch director and author Robert Spencer. The ads had been purchased for one month and were “offered in defense of religious liberty.”
“Still think this is a free country?” said a commentary at the SIOA website. “At least three of the bus companies that ran the dawah (invitation to Islam) bus ads turned down our ad. And Miami tore the ads down in less than 48 hours.”
The reference was to a series of ads earlier posted by Islamists, claiming Islam was “submission to God” and “The way of life of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, & Muhammad.”
Karla Damian, a spokeswoman for Miami-Dade Transit agency, said the ads would be censored immediately.
Complaints had been raised by Muhammed Malik of the South Florida chapter of CAIR.
In a statement to the Herald, he said Islamists reject “any extremist interpretation that sanctions the killing of any individual because she decided to ‘leave Islam.’”
However, Spencer cited reports of a specific threat against American teenager Rifqa Bary, who fled her Muslim family in fear for her life after she converted to Christianity.
Pro-Islam bus ads
A translation of the fatwa against the girl indicated death “is a very normal part of Islamic law for apostasy and for every muslim its (sic) at honor to CLEAN the umma if Rifqa is dead.”
Spencer also cited a series of previous pro-Islamist ads displayed prominently by transit agencies around the country.
“So Muslims can run bus ads all across America inviting the clueless to convert to Islam, but we cannot make information available to Muslims who want to leave Islam,” he wrote.
On his Jihad Watch website, Spencer responded to a comment that the ads be “toned down”:
“What is offensive about our ad? What is wrong with its tone? Apostates are threatened and killed all over the world. We offered them help. What would you suggest we tone down? What would you suggest we not say in order to please them? Why must we always play this game, instead of speaking the truth without fear? There is nothing objectively wrong or offensive about our ad. You’re falling into their trap, allowing them to define what is offensive and what isn’t. I refuse to do so,” he said.
“And even if our ad were offensive to someone, so what? I am offended by all sorts of things. I wouldn’t dream of trying to get them suppressed because they offend me, and no one would take me seriously if I did. But Muslims are already a de facto privileged class, even in America – if I’m offended, no one gives two hoots and no one should, but if Muslims are offended, watch out! Heaven and earth will move!
“The group that is allowed to suppress speech with which it disagrees, or which it finds offensive, is a group that can suppress dissent and carry out its will unchallenged. That is the road to tyranny,” he said.