Group Launches Grassroots Campaign To Counter Anti-Muslim New York Subway Ads

 

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Group Launches Grassroots Campaign To Counter Anti-Muslim New York Subway Ads

By Hayes Brown on Mar 5, 2013 at 10:15 am

A grassroots campaign aimed at countering hateful anti-Muslim ads in New York’s subway system has gone live, placing posters in ten locations across New York City.

Called Talk Back to Hate, the campaign first launched its crowdfunding appeal in January in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, seeking to raise the money necessary to post advertisements in major subway stations from among the citizens of New York.

“I started the project because, like many people I’ve spoken to, these ads feel like an attack on our most basic communal values,” Akiva Freidlin, the creator of the project, said in an interview with ThinkProgress at the time. “They’re doubly offensive, for both attempting to demonize and intimidate individual members of a particular religious group, and trying to exploit the city’s grief and anger.”

Talk Back to Hate’s poster message was chosen from various suggestions submitted by contributors to the campaign. The image depicts a pair of arms wrapped around the Big Apple that is New York and the winning words “Hatred is easy. It is love that requires true strength.” The poster also features the names of those who donated to make the poster a reality. The ad is currently running at some of the New York subway’s most-trafficked stops, including Times Square and Rockefeller Center, as well as eight other locations throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. Fundraising for a second round of ads is already on-going.

A digital version of the ad posted on the Talk Back to Hate website cycles through messages submitted by the campaign’s contributors. In a press release sent out by the campaign, Friedlin highlighted the several of those messages from New York City residents who donated to the project:

Campaign donor Omar Gaya is an American Muslim who moved to NYC about 2 years ago from California to work at a bio-pharmaceutical company. He calls TalkBackToHate.org “the voice of a formerly ‘silent’ majority.”

“We must raise our voices,” Gaya notes, “or else we risk letting the hatred of a few well-resourced individuals dominate the discourse and hijack the values of freedom and tolerance that we hold dear.”

Jessica Nepomiachi, a public policy & community outreach consultant, said that she gave in appreciation for the complexity and diversity of New York. “The NYC transit system carries millions of people a day through one of the most diverse cities in the world,” Nepomiachi says. “Our transit system should be a place of pride, a place to encourage thoughtful and peaceful dialogue, not hatred.”

The spark that launched the campaign was a series of Islamophobic subway ads funded by Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative that ran in New York City and Washington, DC last year. Much as in the case of the ads that inspired Talk Back to Hate, theoriginal series of ads from Geller — which referred to Muslims as “savages” — were likewise countered by various religious and civil groups.

Kevin Harpham, White Supremacist Left “Sophistacted Bomb” at MLK Parade

Kevin Harpham, White Supremacist Left “Sophistacted Bomb” at MLK Parade

Kevin Harpham is suspected of leaving a sophisticated bomb at an MLK Parade in Washington. We didn’t hear much about this individual but if he were Muslim we might be holding Congressional hearings on the Radicalization of American Muslims…oh wait we are.

MLK Day Parade Bomber Suspect Arrested

SPOKANE, Wash. — A man accused of leaving a sophisticated bomb along a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade route in Spokane is known to an organization that tracks hate groups.

Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center tells The Associated Press that Kevin Harpham was a member of the white supremacist National Alliance in 2004. But Potok says his organization doesn’t know when he joined or if he has left the group.

The 36-year-old Harpham is from the Colville area in northeastern Washington. He was arrested Wednesday and is expected to appear in federal court at 3:30 p.m. on charges of trying to use a weapon of mass destruction and possession of an unregistered explosive device.

It wasn’t clear if Harpham has a lawyer.

The bomb was discovered before it went off and no one was injured.