NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Mayor Michael Bloomberg says Americans tolerate things they might find despicable because of the First Amendment’s protection of free expression.
Speaking Friday on his weekly WOR Radio show, Bloomberg was responding to a court decision that orders the MTA to display a provocative ad that equates Muslim radicals with savages.
“The MTA didn’t want to do it, the person who wanted to run the ad went to court, the court said the MTA can’t stop it so they’ll, I assume, do what the courts ordered them to do,” he said.
Pamela Geller, a conservative blogger who leads a group called The American Freedom Defense Initiative, is behind the ad that will run in 10 subway stations next week. The ad reads: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.”
“Political speech is the most protected speech,” she said earlier this week.
Geller said the ad isn’t anti-Muslim, but rather a response to an anti-Israeli ad the MTA ran last year.
“Honestly, anyone that disagrees with me, I would take a bullet for their right to disagree with me. This is the beauty of America, the free exchange of ideas,” Geller said.
The American Freedom Defense Initiative was also behind ads that were posted at Metro-North train stations in Westchester last month that read: “It’s Not Islamophobia, It’s Islamorealism.”
Geller once also headed a campaign against an Islamic center near the World Trade Center site. Bloomberg defended it.
On Friday, Bloomberg said he didn’t think Americans should preach to anyone else. But he added that he found it “disgraceful” that a controversial video about Muslims could spark the kind of violence that has resulted in the death of the American ambassador to Libya.
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