New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission’s recent ruling may have cleared the way for an Islamic center to be built near the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but this doesn’t mean the controversy is over.
In the latest development two human rights organizations have filed a lawsuit against New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) for refusing to run an ad campaign protesting the construction.
The challenge was brought on by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (FDI) and Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). The original posters for the Preservation of Ground Zero campaign featured one of the planes about to crash into the World Trade Center alongside the planned mosque with a caption that reads "Why There?" Two subsequent remakes of the ad were also rejected.
Attorneys who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the organizations have likened the MTA’s decision to a “jihad against free speech.”
“The First Amendment to the Constitution gave way to Shariah’s blasphemy laws,” complained one of the lawyers, David Yerushalmi.
“How long before the mayor’s office begins issuing fatwas against those who dare counter the ‘noble and peaceful outreach’ narrative?" he asked.
Last week, the Landmarks Preservation Commission denied landmark status for a downtown building standing on the proposed site of the new mosque, opening the way for the project’s construction.