Activist and blogger Pamela Geller is suing the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority after the agency refused to run her ads with a drawing of the prophet Muhammad on public transportation in the District of Columbia.
On May 20, Geller submitted her ad to WMATA to be placed on buses and in train stations throughout the city, but about a week later the agency announced it would no longer accept “issue-oriented advertising.”
At the time, a spokesman for WMATA told The Daily Caller News Foundation the decision to ban issue-oriented ads was not related to any particular organization, but Geller believes it was an attempt to block her right to speak freely.
“It’s an end run around the first amendment,” Geller said in an email. “… [and] Public safety has been thrown in for good measure as if these craven quislings know what is conducive to the public good.”
In the lawsuit, Geller, along with her non-profit organization American Freedom Defense Initiative, claims WMATA violated her First Amendment rights by refusing to run her ad.
She is suing for damages resulting from the loss of her constitutional rights and for attorney fees, though the lawsuit does not specify an exact dollar figure.
Morgan Dye, a spokeswoman for WMATA, said she is unable to comment on pending litigation.
The picture Geller wanted to have run on the sides of city buses came from a “Draw Muhammad” contest organized by the AFDI, which resulted in two terrorists being gunned down by police after the men opened fire outside the event.
Geller successfully sued WMATA on similar grounds in 2012 after the agency tried to block an anti-Islam ad submitted by her non-profit organization.
The ad showed Nazi leader Adolph Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini, whom the ad described as Hitler’s “staunch ally, the leader of the Muslim world.”
Next to the picture, the ad read, “Islamic Jew-Hatred: It’s In The Quran.”
Geller said safety concerns some might have regarding the ads on public buses are unfounded, because, as she put it, “America is the target.”
“The West is the target for Islamic terrorism. The whole country is on heightened alert for an Islamic State attack on July 4th,” Geller said in the email. “Abridging our freedoms so as not to offend savages is surrender and un-American. It results in more demands, more surrender, more capitulation to sharia law (which is what WMATA did).”
Read the entire lawsuit here: