Are you a Muslim who is feeling uncomfortable with your religion? RefugefromIslam.com is reaching out to this demographic with a series of ads in New York that are receiving broad condemnation from Muslim rights groups.
A conservative activist and the organizations she leads have paid several thousand dollars for the ads to run on at least 30 city buses for a month. The ads point to a website called RefugefromIslam.com, which offers information to those wishing to leave Islam, but some Muslims are calling the ads a smoke screen for an anti-Muslim agenda.
Eugene Volokh, a First Amendment expert at UCLA School of Law, said the ads could leave some Muslims reluctant to ride the bus. There could also be a risk that some extremist groups might bomb the buses, although that possibility wouldn’t limit free speech rights, he said.
Faiza Ali, of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the ads were based on a false premise that people face coercion to remain with Islam. She said Muslims believe faith that is forced is not true belief.
“Geller is free to say what she likes just as concerned community members are free to criticize her motives,” Ali said.
Geller has a history of speaking out against Muslims, and the ads are “a smoke screen to advance her long-standing history of anti-Muslim bigotry,” Ali said.
What do you think? Is this group inciting ill will toward Muslims? Or is it exercising free speech? Was MTA right to accept the ads?