In April, the AFDI, a self-described human rights advocacy group, hosted a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest in Garland, Texas. The event was attacked by two shooters, both of whom were killed after injuring a security guard.
While many criticized the contest as provocative and bigoted, AFDI champions themselves as the defenders of free-speech under the First Amendment, and took their “cause” a step further when they submitted the winning cartoon to run as an ad in the transit system of the nation’s capital city.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) promptly moved to suspend all issue-related and “advocacy” content from its property, thereby preventing the group from running the ad.
But that didn’t stop the group from pushing the cartoon.
Earlier Today, June 9, AFDI President Pamela Geller announced a new billboard campaign in St. Louis featuring the Muhammad cartoon. The drawing depicts a caricature of an angry Prophet Muhammad, waving a sword and shouting “You can’t draw me!” Also illustrated is the artist’s hand holding a pencil with a speech bubble saying “That’s why I draw you,” in response.
According to Breitbart.com where the announcement first appeared, the cartoon is now on 100 billboards in St. Louis under a “Support Free Speech” campaign.
Geller released a statement regarding the new campaign, painting it as a necessary fight for her group, as “the media and the cultural and political elites continue to self-enforce the Sharia [Islamic Law] without the consent of the American people by refusing to show any depictions of Muhammad.”
Many view AFDI as a far-right anti-Muslim organization. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit civil rights organization, listed AFDI as a hate group in 2011, calling it a “propaganda powerhouse” that paints any and all Muslims as radical terrorists.
AFDI has sponsored several anti-Muslim ads that have appeared in Washington, San Francisco, and New York public transportation systems in recent years.