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Bus ads with jihadist quotes draw outcry in San Francisco

BusAdsIslamSF.jpg

A bus ad in San Francisco is drawing criticism it is racist toward Muslims. (KTVU)

San Francisco leaders and the local Muslim community are slamming what they call a series of anti-Islam bus ads that contain quotes attributed to terrorists.

The ads, which began appearing on at least 10 city buses Monday, contain quotes such as one attributed to the militant Islamic group Hamas that reads: "Killing Jews is worship that brings us closer to Allah."

"San Francisco is a city that celebrates its diversity and hateful speech and discrimination against our Arab and Muslim communities will never be tolerated," Mayor Ed Lee said according to KTVU.

Lee, District Attorney George Gascon and other elected officials joined Arab and Muslim community leaders to publicly condemn the ads Monday, calling them racist.

"These offensive ads serve no purpose than to denigrate our city's Arab and Muslim communities," Gascon said.

The ads are paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative and feature Usama bin Laden, the Times Square car bomber and the alleged gunman in the Fort Hood, Texas, shootings accompanied by quotes about warfare and weapons that the group links to Islam.

The group ran similar ads in San Francisco in August and has also posted ads in New York City, including one in September that called enemies of Israel "savages."

San Francisco's transit agency believes a First Amendment court decision forces it to accept the advertising. It plans to give the $5,000 used to pay for the ads to the city's Human Rights Commission to study the impact of discrimination on San Francisco's Islamic communities and run its own ads against discrimination.

American Freedom Defense Initiative's executive director, Pamela Geller, told The Associated Press on Tuesday the purpose of the campaign is to show the "reality of jihad and root causes of terrorism, from the words of jihadists themselves."

"City officials denounce our ads, but not the actual quotes from high-profile jihadists calling for holy war and genocide," she said in an email.

"Our new campaign focuses on how jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism."

Click for more from KTVU.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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