In an outrageous denial of free speech rights, Miami-Dade Transit last week forced the removal of a “Leaving Islam” ad campaign on Miami buses because the ads might be “offensive to Islam.”
The Freedom Defense Initiative, the new organization I have begun with bestselling author and Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer, and the group Stop Islamization of America started the ad campaign as a defense of religious freedom.
Our ad asked, “Fatwa on your head? Is your family or community threatening you? Leaving Islam? Got questions? Get answers! RefugefromIslam.com.”
It was the first time anyone offered public help to people threatened under Islam’s death penalty for apostasy.
At the behest of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an un-indicted co-conspirator in a Hamas funding case, Miami-Dade Transit took the ads off the buses in South Florida because they offended Muslims. Miami-Dade Transit is bowing to Sharia, Islamic law, which forbids non-Muslims to insult Islam.
CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups ran campaigns on buses across the country last year, including Miami, inviting people to convert to Islam and claiming that Abraham, Moses and Jesus were Muslim prophets.
Miami-Dade Transit allowed the CAIR bus ads despite being offensive to Jews and Christians. The CAIR bus ad campaign ran in Miami-Dade and Broward counties for eight weeks, according to the Miami Herald. No one took offense, despite the Islamic supremacist nature of the ads. No one breathed a word of protest.
At least three of the bus companies that ran CAIR’s dawah (invitation to Islam) bus ads turned down our ad. And Miami-Dade Transit tore our ads down in less than 48 hours.
So Muslim groups can run bus ads seeking converts to Islam, but we cannot make information available to Muslims who want to leave Islam.
Still think this is a free country? Still think we enjoy freedom of speech? Think again.
Freedom of religion is an unalienable right. Sharia law should hold no weight or legitimacy here. Apostates should be free in America to leave Islam without fear, and be who and whatever that they want to be.
According to CAIR-South Florida director Muhammed Malik: “Islam guarantees freedom to and freedom from religion. . . . [We] reject as un-Islamic any extremist interpretation that sanctions the killing of any individual because she decided to ‘leave Islam.” If what Malik said were so, the ads would run.
There are thousands of dead apostates in Muslim countries. Al Azhar University, the leading Islamic university in the world, recently issued a fatwa that constitutes a death warrant on apostates from Islam. Ruling on the question of a Muslim who had converted to Christianity, the fatwa said: “Since he left the Islam, he will be invited to express his regret. If he does not regret, he will be killed pertaining to rights and obligations of the Islamic law.”
Will Muhammad Malik denounce Al-Azhar University? Will he denounce Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi of Al-Jazeera, who said that all the major schools of Islamic law “agree that apostates must be executed”?
I am proud to announce that we are filing suit against Miami-Dade Transit for killing our “Leaving Islam” campaign. We are suing for breach of contract and violation of the first amendment.
This is a key test case. Will free speech stand in the United States, or will public institutions like Miami-Dade Transit give way to Islamic rules governing speech? The stakes couldn’t be higher.