Final Project – Anti-jihad Posters

Posted on December 7, 2012 by


Below is a link to our Prezi on anti-jihad posters found in subway stations in New York and Washington for our final project. Enjoy!

Kayte Cole, Elise Mesenbring and Laurel Krebsbach

Analysis of Our Prezi
After we gathered all the background information on the Anti-Jihad posters, we decided to analyze how some of this information came about. We first looked at how the word “Muslims” and “Anti-Jihad” are used differently to describe the situation around the posters. We also were really intrigued by Mona Eltahawy’s stunt with the spray-painting of a subway poster. We wondered if her motives were for fame or for the actual cause given her past in the media. Lastly we looked at how articles showed a lot more opposition to the Anti-Jihad posters than support for them.

Throughout all the articles we looked at over the Anti-Jihad posters we found that how people interpreted the term “Jihad” was different for everyone. In most articles we came across people thought by using the term Anti-Jihad on the posters it was in reference to all Muslims. Pamela Geller the women behind putting up the Anti-Jihad posters says this is not the case. Geller states, “Some Muslims” are savage; she is saying jihadists are savage.” Geller calls the jihadists people who attack Israel and other countries. Woodridge who is a national director of Muslim youth USA says, “Geller clearly discriminates against the entire population of Muslims. She unfairly generalizes all Muslims as being savages and inferior to Jews. This freedom of hatred will harm and divide the United States.” Many other Muslims have found this Anti-Jihad posters upsetting. One Muslims says, “Ah, but the use of the word “jihad” inherently indicts all Muslims. There are millions of peaceful Muslims for whom jihad means only a spiritual quest.”

We don’t have to look far back into American history to see words like “savage” used to oppress other communities. A word as simple as Anti-Jihad even though it was not attended for all Muslims can still affect many Muslims because of the stereotypes from other people. Other articles in the media don’t help with this interpretation of the word Anti-jihad for some newspapers are reporting these posters as Muslims posters while others strictly stay with the word Anti-Jihad. Overall our group just found it interesting how one word can mean different things to different people. So no matter what way the term was reported as it was going to offend someone.

As we were looking through the articles on the responses to the Anti-Jihad ads, Mona Eltahawy’s name came up quite frequently. She quoted, while feverishly covering the ads with pink spray paint, “I think this is freedom of expression, just as [the ad] is freedom of expression.” Mona, who describes herself as a liberal Muslim, felt the need to take an immediate stand against the posters. In the media, Mona’s Twitter feed of more than 80,000 followers read, Meetings done; pink spray paint time. #ProudSavage. However, as she was being arrested in New York for violating local laws after successfully covering the discriminatory words, Mona cried out, “This is what happens when you nonviolently protest in America?” In response, a local citizen replied sarcastically, “That’s true”? This prompting a burst of laughter from the surrounding crowds. From this incident many wonder if Mona was merely looking to gain attention from the media or if she truly felt inclined and encouraged to deface the ads in response to protecting her beliefs.

Mona Eltahawy already has a past in the media which leads many to believe that she was solely striving for attention, with this latest incident. In November 2011, Mona was arrested for protesting in Cairo, Egypt. At the time, her Twitter feed claimed she was beaten and arrested in jail. As well as in July 2010, Mona was featured on television news reports to support a law in France that prohibits Islamic women of wearing full length veils in public. She is so often found in the media, so some find it difficult to take her strong opinions and creative protests seriously. The way she displays her emotions through Twitter and outwardly in public, impose doubts among those listening whether she is sincere. On the other hand Mona’s appearances in the media have almost always been about Muslim controversies, so it could be that she is just a very large public advocate for Muslims issues and it has nothing to do with publicity.

When looking at the way the media portrays the Anti-Jihad ads placed in subways in New York and Washington as well as on buses in San Francisco, an overwhelming number of opinions reveal themselves in these media sources. Both support and opposition can be found in almost every article in the media about this specific issue. It wasn’t often over the past few months that an article was written about this topic without bringing in quotes from some outsider with a strong opinion. Even though opinions are seen from both sides, though, an overwhelming amount of these opinions in the media appear to be against Pamela Geller’s ads.

We first looked at those opinions supporting Pamela Geller in the media, it can be seen that most of these quotes given in the media are from Pamela Geller herself. The media often writes about her defending her ads, especially the harshness of them. Pamela has spoken to the media often about her use of the word “savage”. Pamela is often quoted giving a list of reasons she uses this word, “It refers to those who rejoice in the murders of innocent civilians. The war on Israel is a war on innocent civilians. The targeting of civilians is savage. The murder of Ambassador Stevens was savage. The relentless 60-year campaign of terror against the Jewish people is savage. The torture of hostage Gilad Shalit was savage. The bloody hacking to death of the Fogel family was savage. The Munich Olympic massacre was savage.” The list goes on and on, but it became clear through research that Pamela is very vocal with the media and is always looking for an opportunity to speak on behalf of her advertisements.

Other support in the media did not come as frequently, and was often a form of forced support, so when the media would report quotes from these people and groups it would be noticeable that these “supporters” were not actually very happy about supporting. Especially with the groups forced to display the ads, these groups came out to the media to show that even though they had to support the ads through action (by posting them in their subways or buses), they were not supportive of the ads through their voice in the media. The Metropolitan Transit Authority especially stated, “Our hands are tied. Under existing ad standards… the MTA is required to run the ad.” Quotes such as these, showing displeasure in their forced support, were prevalent in many articles where the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency or the MTA were quoted. The only other support that showed in the media was from those who basically only supported Pamela Geller’s acts because of their strong belief in the First Amendment. Usually these quotes came with a strong supporting line referring to the First Amendment followed by a statement seeming unsure about Pamela’s ads, but finally concluding that this person supported the ads because of the strong belief in the First Amendment. Even these supporters, though, were few and far between.

The overwhelming reaction that the media showed to Pamela Geller’s advertisements was one of opposition. Many had very strong opinions against Pamela herself because of the ads she posted. Muneer Awad, the executive director of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations stated, “We recognize the freedom of speech issues and her right to be a bigot and a racist.” These opinions of Pamela seemed universal among those against the Anti-Jihad ads. On numerous occasions, Pamela was attacked from her opposition in the media on the basis of how she was treating Muslims. This is where the other type of quotes opposing Pamela’s ads came from. Many media sources interviewed people who were entirely supportive of the Muslim community, thus very opposing to Pamela’s ads which seemed like a hate crime against Muslims. Valarie Kaur, director of Groundswell at Auburn Seminary, attended a rally at City Hall in New York to protest Pamela’s and was quoted saying, “These ads fuel anti-Muslim sentiment that aims to divide us, but we will always come together, louder and stronger, for respect and dignity.” Valarie was far from being the only one on the Muslim people’s side. This anger at the speech against Muslims was shown in far more media articles than any support for Pamela Geller was. Another opposition quote against Pamela came from Rabbi Jacobs who said, “Geller thinks she is speaking for the entire Jewish community. We are a group of 1,800 rabbis and we want everyone to know that we have to work in partnership with the Muslim community and do not believe in dehumanizing them.” So many people in the media spoke out in support of Muslims that it became apparent that the majority of the media sources being distributed about this issue were showing much more opposition of this topic than support.

Another main reason for the opposition to Geller’s ads in the media came from people’s thoughts about what these ads might cause in our nation. A Sojourners solicitation said, “Hateful anti-Muslim ads only result in violence, hatred, and more fear. Everyone — regardless of race, religion, or creed — deserves to feel welcome & safe when riding public transit in the United States.” Many in the media echoed this concern, many being afraid that these ads would create more conflict than anyone wanted.

Overwhelmingly, the media’s portrayal of Pamela Geller’s Anti-Jihad advertisements was negative. A majority amount of quotes found by those speaking to the media were very opposed to Geller’s ads, while only a small amount were found in support. The majority of these supportive quotes in the media actually came from Pamela herself, which goes to show that not many besides Pamela and those she was immediately connected to were willing to speak out on her side. Even those that did end up speaking on the more supportive side of this argument usually ended up qualifying their statements by putting most of the excuse of their support on the First Amendment. Support did not come in great amounts, and since even people who were supportive were seemingly more reluctant to support, there was clearly a much greater presence of opposition to Pamela Geller’s advertisements in the media.

In the end we found by analyzing the terms used for the Anti-jihad posters, looking at Mona Eltahawy’s stunt, and looking at the overall support and opposition for the posters we were better able to understand this issue as a whole. We were able to form our own opinions about it by looking at all sides of the situation and not being biased to one side or the other until we had all the facts.

Work cited
Analysis and Prezi Bibliography
“Anti-jihad Savage Ads to Hit New York City’s Subway System.” Fox News. 23 Sept. 2012. Associated Press. 21 Nov. 2012 < avage-ads-going-up-in-new-york-city-subway/>.

Barooah, Jahnabi. “#MySubwayAd: People Respond To Anti-Islamic Subway Ads.” The Huffington Post., 24 Sept. 2012. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.

Beaumont, Peter. “Writer Arrested for Defacing Anti-Muslim Ads.” The Guardian: 31. Sep 27 2012. ProQuest Newsstand.Web. 5 Dec. 2012 .

Brown, Hayes. “Anti-Muslim ‘Savage’ Ads Invade DC’s Metro.” Think Progress. 9 Oct. 2012. 21 Nov. 2012 < ad-dc-metro/?mobile=nc>.

“‘Choose love’: Pro-Muslim Ads to Appear in NYC Subways.” 5 Oct. 2012. 21 Nov. 2012 <;.

Diamond, Marla. “News.” CBS New York. N.p., 27 Sept. 2012. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.

Fehling, April. “New Yorkers Rush By As Embattled Anti-Jihad Ads Hit The Subway.” NPR. 24 Sept. 2012. 21 Nov. 2012 < way/2012/09/24/161706741/new-yorkers-rush-by-as-embattled-anti-jihad-ads-hit-the- subway?sc=tw&cc=share>.

Fermino, Jennifer, Laura Italiano and Rebecca Harshbarger. “Poster Gal: I Pink I can Proud of Color Scheme.” New York Post: 5. Sep 27 2012. ProQuest Newsstand. Web. 5 Dec. 2012 .

Geller, Pamela. “American Freedom Defense Initiative V. Washington Metro Transit Authority.” Atlas Shrugs. 20 Sept. 2012. 21 Nov. 2012 < initiative-v-washington-metro-area-transit-authority-in-the-war-on-free-spe.html>.

Groh, Jeanie. “Religious Groups Denounce Anti-Muslim Subway Ads.” The Washington Post. 25 Sept. 2012. Religion News Service. 21 Nov. 2012 < muslim-subway-ads/2012/09/25/1f2d3298-0749-11e2-9eea-333857f6a7bd_story.html>.

“It’s Your Move, Elected Officials.” Daily Herald: 12. ProQuest Newsstand. Nov 29 2012. Web. 4 Dec. 2012 .

JEROME TAYLOR Religious, Affairs C. “Heroine of Arab Spring Arrested for New York Protest in New York.” The Independent: 34. Sep 27 2012. ProQuest Newsstand. Web. 5 Dec. 2012 .

Krishnamurthy, Madhu. “Forums, Social Media Help Counter Anti-Islam Messages.” Daily Herald: 1. Sep 28 2012. ProQuest Newsstand. Web. 28 Nov. 2012 .

Masoodi, Ashwaq. “Pro-Muslim Subway Ads to Hang Near Anti-Jihad Ads.” The New York Times. 4 Oct. 2012. City Room. 21 Nov. 2012 < anti-jihad-ads/>.

McGurn, William. “Call a Terrorist a ‘Savage’? how Uncivilized; an Anti-Jihad Message is ‘Hate Speech’ by Today’s Topsy-Turvy Standards.” Wall Street Journal (Online) Oct 01 2012: n/a. ProQuest Newsstand; The Wall Street Journal. 4 Dec. 2012 .

Mozgovaya, Natasha. “Anti-jihad Posters Provide This Year’s UN Controversy.” Haaretz. 28 Sept. 2012. 21 Nov. 2012 < news/anti-jihad-posters-provide-this-year-s-un-controversy-1.467348>.

“MTA Announces New Disclaimer Policy For Non-Commercial Advertisements.” CBS. 27 Sept. 2012. 21 Nov. 2012 < disclaimer-policy-for-non-commercial-advertisements/>.

“New Yorkers React To Anti-Jihad Subway Ads.” RTT News. 27 Sept. 2012. 21 Nov. 2012 <;.

Roberts, Georgett, Larry Celona and Jennifer Fermino. “Paint Misbehavin’ Subway Ads Vs. Islam Hit.” New York Post: 7. Sep 26 2012. ProQuest Newsstand. Web. 5 Dec. 2012 .

Safi, Omid. “The Lord Says: “Love Thy (Muslim) Neighbor”: Jewish and Christian Groups Reach Out to Muslims.” Religion News Service. 5 Oct. 2012. 21 Nov. 2012 < jewish-and-christian-groups-reach-ou>.

Scherer, Ron. “Anti-Muslim Groups’ Ad in NYC Subway Calls Jihad ‘Savage.’ Is Now a Good Time?” ProQuest. 21 Sept. 2012. 21 Nov. 2012 <;.

“Your Views.” The Record Sep 26 2012 ProQuest Newsstand. 4 Dec. 2012 .

Posted in: Uncategorized