Critical Commentary. Controversial ‘Defeat Jihad’ Ad to Appear in NYC Subways.

Posted on September 25, 2012 by














Jeff Halvorson


Critical Commentary on The Controversial ‘Defeat Jihad’ Ad

            This article represents a social issue involving whether or not this ad represents free speech or hate speech.  “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.  Support Israel.  Defeat Jihad.”  Starting next week, the ads will be displayed in 10 of New York City’s more than 400 subway stations.  My first reaction to this advertisement statement was that it is extremely anti-Muslim.  There are two sides to this, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (also representing Judaism) and the Muslim religion.  The American Freedom Defense Initiative argues that this is free speech and should not be ignored.  Is this really a fight for free speech?  Or, is it a way to advertise hate toward the Muslim religion?

The headline and the first paragraph suggest that the American Freedom Defense Initiative is doing almost a good thing.  The author tries to stay unbiased, but he includes more arguments and quotes on one side while providing very little information regarding why it shouldn’t be posted.  Words like savage reappear representing the attacks on innocent people from Muslim protests.  This possibly hateful message cannot be stopped from hitting the public.  Even with the recent assassination of the U.S. Ambassador because of an American made anti-Muslim film doesn’t hesitate the American Freedom Defense Initiative from putting up this advertisement.

According to the article, Jihad is Arabic for “struggle” and it is a religious duty to Muslims.  The article specifies that it has peaceful and violent interpretations, so do we really want to defeat it?  It is a word that we don’t fully understand in the Muslim community and the city of New York will be forced to encourage the defeat of a very important duty to Muslims.

The person behind all of this is the executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, Pamela Geller.  She is quoted saying,” We don’t think it’s controversial.”  She then brings up the fact that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has posted anti-Israel ads before.  This is the most ridiculous comment she could come up with.  She promotes her ad denying that it’s a hate speech and uses the reason of anti-Israel ads used in the subways to get her point across.  This is a fight to promote religion and accuse the other of being savage like and ridiculous.  If she uses the first amendment of free speech to get her point across, then she should also take a closer look to find the freedom of religion part.  Her reasoning is uneducated and the general attitude she gives toward religion is hateful.

After further analyzing this article, I can see the author going another way in representing this current event.  Most of this article includes quotes and opinions of the American Freedom Defense Initiative.  The coverage of this article really catches your attention because it almost represents the American Freedom Defense Initiative as an extremist group.  They fight for a cause that helps nobody; all it does is bring hate towards one another.  The Muslim religion takes offense to slanderous moods towards their religion and prophet and they respond in ways that they believe is necessary.  This is an important topic for media outlet to address because religion is a main factor in war and the hate towards one another affects the lives and actions of everyone.


Cawthon, Erinn.  “Controversial ‘Defeat Jihad’ Ad to Appear in NYC Subways.”  World

Religious News, Sept. 19, 2012.  Web.  Sept. 23, 2012.



Posted in: Islam