calendar March 17, 2015 in Advocacy, Bishop, News

Religious Leaders Oppose Anti-Muslim Ads

Join the Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia (RLC) in supporting our Muslim neighbors and opposing a hate campaign scheduled to appear in the SEPTA transit system this spring. The RLC affirms free speech while vigorously rejecting hate-filled messages like these that have appeared in several other cities in a campaign by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI). SEPTA has fought the placement of these ads in court, and a judge recently ruled that these ads are protected by the First Amendment. Civic and religious groups like the RLC are speaking out against such hate messages.

  • To sign a petition in support of RLC’s position click here.

The original request by the AFDI to purchase advertisement space in Philadelphia was back in the fall but in the past few months SEPTA has been in court with the AFDI over the advertisements. SEPTA declined to run the ads stating the message had inflammatory anti-Islamic content. The judge hearing the case recently ruled that SEPTA must allow them to be displayed. In addition, this past fall a public statement denouncing this hate speech was unanimously passed by the Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia and is now being re-issued.

RLClogoIn the letter by the Religious Leaders Council they state, “While we affirm the constitutional protection of free speech, that does not diminish our condemnation of irresponsible speech. The language used in these proposed advertisements is distorted, prejudicial, and inflames hatred…We condemn inflammatory messages that serve to divide, stigmatize, and incite prejudice. We will continue to reject attempts to stereotype any tradition or community.” To read the entire letter, click here.

Please help spread the news and share this information with your own communities and constituencies. You will find a petition, resources on how to speak about this issue in your religious group, school, or community group and many other “Resources for Responding to anti-Muslim ads in Philadelphia” on the website of the Interfaith Center at