The group behind a recent spate of inflammatory advertisements throughout the transit system said this week that it planned to make its biggest purchase yet: the space beside each of the roughly 220 clocks hanging in New York City’s subway stations.
The advertisements depict the twin towers, engulfed in flames, beside a quote attributed to the Koran: ‘Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers.’
The clocks are suspended from ceilings above subway platforms in stations across the city.
The group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, has often stoked controversy with its messages, including posters placed in 10 subway stations in September, characterizing Islamist opponents of the Jewish state as ‘savage.’ Virtually all of the ads were vandalized shortly after they were posted.
But the latest ad buy is unique. It is large enough that, compared with past campaigns, New Yorkers will be much more likely to see the displays. And because of the advertisements’ overhead placement, would-be vandals ‘would have to get a ladder,’ said Pamela Geller, the group’s executive director.
A spokesman for the transportation authority said it was reviewing the advertisements. Rejection seems unlikely: the authority recently approved virtually identical ads from the group, with the same image and quotation, for display at Metro-North Railroad stations. Ms. Geller, whose group has also placed ads that say ‘Support Israel. Defeat Jihad,’ said that campaign would begin next week.
Ms. Geller has long created headaches for officials at the transportation authority, which initially rejected the campaign that included the ‘savage’ label, citing its demeaning language. The American Freedom Defense Initiative sued and in July won a federal court ruling on First Amendment grounds.