Two days after ads inveighing against jihad went up in four Metrorail stations, a progressive Christian group announced it is buying ad space of its own to hit back at what many perceive as a blatantly anti-Muslim campaign.
Beginning next week, advertisements placed by the organization Sojourners will implore Metro customers to “Love Your Muslim Neighbors," a clear attempt to serve as a counterweight to ads sponsored by a group called the American Freedom Defense Initiative. Those ads, which went on display this week after a federal judge ordered Metro to allow their installation, read: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."
Sojourners' ads will go up next week in the Georgia Avenue-Petworth and U Street stations. Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said they will remain on display for four weeks. The anti-Muslim ads—posted at U Street, Georgia Avenue-Petworth, Takoma and Glenmont—are also up for a month.
"When Jesus said, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ he didn’t add stipulations," the Rev. Jim Wallis, Soujourners' chief executive, said in a news release. "It meant love your neighbor; even if they don’t look like you, sound like you or believe like you do."
The Christian group has also bought ad space in the New York City Subway, where American Freedom Defense Initiative's posters first appeared in September. Sojourners has also bought billboard space in Ohio, Tennessee and Missouri to counter a recent wave of vandalism against mosques and Islamic centers in those states. A billboard featuring the the campaign also went up in Oak Creek, Wis. in August after a gunman there entered a Sikh temple and killed six worshippers.
Yesterday, a high-school teacher boarding Metro at Takoma plastered one of the American Freedom Defense Initiative's ads with Post-It Notes , which were quickly taken down.