After a recent court ruling, the far-right American Freedom Law Center will get its wish: ads on SEPTA buses which feature a photograph of Adolf Hitler and Palestinian nationalist Haj Amin al-Husseini, and the words: “Islamic Jew-hatred: It’s in the Quran.”
Eighty-four of the city public transportation company’s buses will display the ad, according to a 6ABC report.
It’s clear that this advertisement is an attempt to rile up certain social groups, particularly Muslims. However, the Muslim Student Association, which represents Muslim students at Temple, gave The Temple News a statement on the situation, stressing the creation of “an environment of understanding” and discouraging anyone from vandalizing the ads.
“It is important to be respectful of other people’s opinions and that is what our religion teaches,” the organization said in the statement.
Temple’s MSA should be commended for its remarkable calm while surrounded by those who are outraged. But at a university with a significant commuter population – students, faculty and staff alike will likely use these buses – several people at the university will see the hateful message, a result of our right to free speech.
It is important to stay aware of the message’s intrusion into public discourse, which could otherwise be more civil. Including the perpetrator of humanity’s largest genocide with intent to besmirch a religious text many students deem sacred is more than just discourteous – it’s practically fighting words.
If you agree with the ad, don’t think its printing means it’s now acceptable to speak that way to your peers. Instead, be civil. Shouting about Jew-hatred in a religious text will not make you popular or get your point across.
If you disagree with the ad, don’t be upset. The AFLC is nothing more than a peddler of a centuries-old conflict which has no place in our public transportation system. As MSA suggests, use it as a way to start a productive conversation.