CAIR-FL Victory: bus ad reversal – appeasement

The Tampa Bay Times reports:

Reversing course, Hillsborough County’s transit agency will allow the Florida Council on American-Islamic Relations to advertise on its buses.

The unanimous vote by members of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) board of directors is a sharp turn from where members were in August, when eight of the 10 present rejected the advertisement on county buses, citing promotion of religion as a concern.

CAIR Florida appealed the original ban claiming the proposed ads were, “aimed at challenging stereotypes of Islam and Muslims and defending civil liberties.”

cair-adAs noted, the original ruling rejecting the ads was based on the promotion of religion.  CAIR claims the ads simply promote diversity and are not religious based.

CAIR first attempted to obtain HART ad space in April 2013 as part of the #MyJihad campaign being pushed in a number of cities and municipalities.  HART rejected those ads because they violated its policy prohibiting ads that “primarily promote a religious faith or religious organization.”

In regards to the August 5th denial, Tampa Bay times noted:  

Given how the ad has evolved, board member Wallace Bowers said he believes CAIR’s religious intent is clear and it is now seeking to circumvent HART rules. Member Mark Sharpe, who serves on the County Commission, agreed.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner had voted in support of the recent CAIR ads.  Beckner thought the rejection had more to do with the organization behind the ad.

“What happened on Aug. 5 was a great injustice … ,” Beckner said at the meeting. “It’s pure and outright hatred and discrimination and now this board has an opportunity to right that injustice. We can talk about what the policy looks like in the future, but the right thing today is to approve this ad.”

As pointed out by other commission members, CAIR is clearly religious based – so the rejection was certainly about the organization.  The terms “Islam” and “Muslim” are not secular.  Here are just a few statements from the  national CAIR website:

  • CAIR’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
  • CAIR is America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group …
  • Since its establishment in 1994, CAIR has worked to promote a positive image of Islam and Muslims in America.
  • CAIR’s Governmental Affairs Department conducts and organizes lobbying efforts on issues related to Islam and Muslims.
  • CAIR’s Communications Department works in conjunction with local and national media to ensure an accurate portrayal of Islam and Muslims is presented to the American public.
  • CAIR offers a variety of publications that address the needs and rights of American Muslims.

CAIR Florida even states its county bus ad campaign, based on the group’s establishment in 2000, is to challenge stereotypes of Islam and Muslims and defend civil liberties. 

Hypothetical example to consider:  the Conference of Catholic Bishops requests to place an ad with HART.  The ad shows 2 Catholic priests, 2 Catholic nuns and 3 people in nondescript street clothes.   The purpose of the ad is to challenge the stereotypes of Catholics.  Would such an ad be approved?

There is simply no rational way to put CAIR’s activities and promotional ads under a secular label and the original board vote reflected this.

While not indicated in the articles, HART most likely has some prohibition in accepting advertising from groups that support violence/terrorist activities.  Considering CAIR’s documented ties to terrorist funding and associated activities, one would think any “no” vote based on this factor alone would be a rational one. 

Beckner apparently chooses to ignore CAIR’s documented history and religious focus.  They have apparently have found an ally with Beckner. His claims of “outright hatred and discrimination” and “righting injustice” fall in line with the typical victimization image that CAIR attempts to portray.  As shown in HART’s policy reversal, it’s proven to be an effective intimidation tactic. 



COMMENT/ANALYSIS: HART board members have apparently found that appeasement is preferable over being subject to a CAIR smear campaign and being labelled an “islamophobe“.


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3 responses to “CAIR-FL Victory: bus ad reversal – appeasement”

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