MARYLAND

Md. faith groups to protest anti-Muslim Metro bus ads

Metro workers install ads purchased by the American Freedom Defense Initiative in 2012. (WJLA)
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ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) - Members of Montgomery County faith groups plan to protest anti-Islamic Metro bus ads Monday in Rockville.

The Montgomery County Faith Community Working Group (FCWG) - which includes members of the local Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Sikh, Unitarian Universalist and Zoroastrian faith communities - issued a statement saying they are "deeply saddened by the placement of anti-Muslim ads on buses owned and operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)."

The ads include photos of Adolf Hitler meeting with an anti-Jewish Islamic leader during World War II, and call for an end to American aid to Islamic countries.

The ads, placed by a group called the American Freedom Defense Initiative, started appearing in May on 20 Metro buses in the D.C. Metro area.

The group previously ran ads on Metro buses in 2012 which were similar in nature, equating Muslims to "savages" and calling for support to Israel.

Metro originally declined to run the ads, so the American Freedom Defense Initiative sued for the right to place the ads. A federal judge ruled that Metro must run the ads, citing freedom of speech.

Monday's protest will begin at 10:30 a.m. near the Rockville Metro station, at 1 Church Street near the intersection of Route 355.

Speakers during the protest will include Reverend Mansfield Kaseman. Interfaith Liaison, County’s Office of Community Partnerships; Gonpo Yeshe, KPC Buddhist Temple; and Inam Faizul Khan, Islamic Center of the Washington Area.

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