Liana Whitehead

Anti-jihad ads considered constitutional

Liana Whitehead

New York City is the center of a public uproar as Internet blogger Pamela Gellar rises with an “anti-jihad” ad campaign.

As of Monday, 10 of the city’s subway stations will be home to a silent protest in the form of bold white text and an even bolder statement:

“In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel, Defeat Jihad.”

Gellar and members of American Freedom Defense Initiative submitted the ad in response to ongoing propaganda in the subway system urging America to cease aid to Israel.

Gellar’s protests, however, were initially muffled by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, according to the Associated Press.

Gellar won the right to distribute the ad after District Court Judge Paul Engelmayer later declared it covered by the First Amendment.

There is a multitude – and I mean multitude – of arguments for and against AFDI’s protest.

On one hand, the posters are covered by freedom of speech, and rightfully so. On the same hand, it makes room for backfire with “pro-jihad” speech, if desired.

Does anybody else feel we would be running in circles? Does this benefit or unite us against terrorism, arguing back-and-forth via subway tunnels?

On a second hand, a religious war is at bay and America is a direct target. Will these protests encourage its continuance?

On Saturday, a Pakistan minister, Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, personally offered $100,000 to whoever assassinates the creator of the film, “Innocence of Muslims,” according to CNN.

The filmmaker and his family have left their California home and are officially in hiding — this is scary stuff.

Although I refuse to place the blame on that poorly made anti-Islamic video, the opposition has made its offense atrociously clear.

Drawing attention to any fearlessness or challenging them may result in more unnecessary injury and death. At this rate, I do not doubt that the extremists would accept any “challenges” sent their way.

The anti-Israeli group Stop $30 Billion to Israel hung its wall art in protest of U.S. funding — specifically military — to Israel.

A separate organization, The Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine, hung its own ads which suggested that Palestinian land was slowly decreasing and morphing into Israeli land.

The group urges people to “be on their side.” But this is a coalition for peace between the Palestine and Israel — why is an anti-war organization encouraging further separation between the two?

Within this conflict lies a deeper battle. One that existed since the early 20th century: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

On Monday, passersby will take in a new message — one that, on the surface, seems harsher than its rival’s.

According to The New York Times, Pamela Gellar said she would not sacrifice her freedom in fear of offending “savages.”

“If it’s not a film, it’s a cartoon,” Gellar said. “If it’s not a cartoon, it’s a teddy bear. What are you going to do? Are you going to reward Islamic extremism?”

I agree. And, Gellar was careful in the words she used. She did not say that Muslims are savages, or that she was referring to Muslims around the globe.

Gellar and her group are protesting the Jihad, which in definition is the religious duty of Muslims.

According to the Dictionary of Islam, jihad is defined as “A religious war with those who are unbelievers in the mission of Muhammad . . . enjoined especially for the purpose of advancing Islam and repelling evil from Muslims.”

The literal meaning of jihad, according to the British Broadcasting Network, “is struggle or effort, and it means much more than holy war.”

The word jihad describes three different struggles, including “a believer’s internal struggle to live out the Muslim faith as well as possible, the struggle to build a good Muslim society and Holy war — the struggle to defend Islam, with force if necessary

My politically incorrect nature wants to applaud the American Freedom Defense group for not softening the blow in their anti-jihad campaign.

The anti-Israeli ads show side-by-side photos of two smiling men — an Israeli social worker and a Palestinian designer — each holding a child on their lap.

What a utopian ideal. No poster in the world can change the actuality of it all.

Why do these ads urge the United States to discontinue military aid to Israel? Israel is our mutual and strategic ally.

The Israeli and Palestinian nations’ need for personal sovereignty is commendable, but one less country on our side means one more country in support of our enemies.

It is impossible for me to grasp the concept of anti-war or anti-support when we are targeted in the name of religion – or peace. The goal seems to change every day.

What some refuse to see is the imminent danger that lingers with current events.

Our desires are honorable — to feel carefree and live under the laws of peace and hope — but we cannot act obliviously when real harm is knocking at our door.

Now is not the time to lose whatever support we have.

[Correction] The organization StandWithUs was misrepresented. The actual organization is called Stop $30 Billion to Israel.