Former Five Towner’s subway ad sparks controversy


A Five Towns native is once again behind a stark ad campaign in the New York City subways, this time linking the bombing of the World Trade Center to a Koranic verse.

The posters, showing the two iconic buildings in flames beside the words, “Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers (Quran 3:151)” on a blue background, are hung beside all 225 clocks in the NYC subway system. They were put up on January 7th and will remain in place through February. Some of the stations where they can be found include 42nd Street and 8th Avenue, West 4th Street, 50th and 8th Avenue, and 86th Street and Broadway. The MTA is running a disclaimer with the ads to emphasize that the MTA is not endorsing the views of the ad. Aaron Donovan, the media liaison of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority stressed that, “The MTA does not endorse the content of this ad, or any ad that runs in the transit system.”

Two organizations, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA) are behind the ad campaign. They were also behind a previous subway posting, when ten ads were put up in September 2012 that stated, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” Pamela Geller is the founder and executive director of those two organizations and is the founder, editor and publisher of the blog Atlas She has been profiled on 60 Minutes, covered in the New York Times and has appeared on ABC, CNN, AP, shows on Fox News, and written about in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and other publications. Her articles have also been published widely.

She said that AFDI and SIOA are “human rights organizations dedicated to freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and individual rights.”

One of four sisters, Geller grew up in Hewlett Harbor and attended Lynbrook High School and Hofstra University. She learned to speak Spanish fluently while working in her father’s business. In the 1980s, Geller worked at the New York Daily News as a financial analyst and then in advertising and marketing. She worked at the New York Observer from 1989 through 1994 as associate publisher and as a business executive.

Geller began her blog in 2005, she said, because, “I saw increasingly how the new media was our best hope for breaking through the mainstream media propaganda line and getting the truth to the American people. Our country was attacked on 9/11. The more I learned about who attacked us and why, the more I saw that freedom was not a given. We had to fight to defend it.”

In this new subway ad campaign she said that she hopes to “challenge law enforcement and government officials, as well as the Muslim community, to be more realistic and honest about the ways in which Islamic texts and teachings are used by jihadis to justify violence and supremacism, and to formulate effective ways to counter this.”

Geller pointed out that the MTA charge for “all the clocks in the system is $70,000” and that it was funded by many small donations from “patriotic Americans deeply concerned about protecting our freedoms.” She has been called an “Islamaphobe” by some pundits and has been praised by others. Her advertising campaigns have been seen in transit systems in New York City, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.

As for the reaction to the campaign, Geller said, “There has been the predictable and manipulative charge of hate from Islamic supremacists in the U.S. and their Leftist allies. There is nothing hateful about revealing the motives and goals of the jihadis who have vowed to destroy our nation, or about calling for a more effective defense against them. The charge reveals more about those who make it than it does about me.”