- The ads were mine. They were the initiative of Stop Islamization of America and the Freedom Defense Initiative, the new organization I have begun with bestselling author and Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer. Our ad asked a series of questions:
- Fatwa on your head? Is your family or community threatening you? Leaving Islam? Got questions? Get answers! RefugefromIslam.com.
This was the first time anyone offered public help to people threatened under Islam’s death penalty for apostasy. Government and law enforcement should be working to protect apostates from Islam, but they aren’t. So we are. If we don’t stand for freedom, we will certainly lose it. And Miami-Dade Transit’s kowtowing to CAIR, even though it ultimately reversed itself, shows how close we are to losing it.
It was an outrageous denial of our free speech rights, and a stunning capitulation to Sharia. Even worse, it was a blatantly inconsistent application of Miami-Dade Transit’s policies: CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups ran campaigns on buses across the country last year, including Miami, inviting people to convert to Islam and claiming that Abraham, Moses, and Jesus were Muslim prophets. Miami-Dade Transit allowed the CAIR bus ads, despite how offensive they were to Jews and Christians.
In December 2008, the Miami Herald ran a glowing piece on the CAIR bus ad campaign, which ran in Miami-Dade and Broward counties for eight weeks. No one took offense, despite the Islamic supremacist nature of the ads. No one breathed a word of protest.
It was important to counterbalance this offensive appropriation of the founding figures of Judaism and Christianity and outright deception with a healthy message. But although Miami-Dade Transit had no trouble with CAIR’s offensive message, they found our defense of religious freedom unacceptable.
Miami-Dade Transit was bowing to Sharia — Islamic law — which forbids non-Muslims to insult Islam. But CAIR didn’t win this time: after our excellent lawyer, David Yerushalmi, and his associate, Robert Muise of the Thomas More Law Center, threatened a lawsuit for breach of contract and infringement of our First Amendment rights, Miami-Dade Transit agreed to restore our ads.
Still think we enjoy the protection of the First Amendment on speech that offends the powerful? Think again, because the obstacles our campaign faced didn’t start with Miami. At least three of the bus companies that ran CAIR’s dawah (invitation to Islam) bus ads turned down our ad.