WGN 9: ‘Jihad’ ads on CTA buses spark outrage

CHICAGO—Some controversial ads are now on the sides of buses and CTA stations, and they’re sparking outrage in the Muslim community.

The ad reads “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.”

It’s already been running in other cities including New York, Detroit and Washington D.C. The ad is financed by Pamela Geller, a conservative blogger with an organization called the American Freedom Defense Initiative.

Several Muslim groups in Chicago say the ad campaign is racist.

“When you say defeat jihad, she’s essentially saying defeat all Muslim,” says Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director, CAIR Chicago. “It’s incredibly misinformed.”

Ahmed Rehab is executive director of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He says most people associate the word ‘jihad’ with terrorism, which he says is completely inaccurate.

“Jihad for us is daily struggle, it is going to school, whatever it is people go through,” he says.

The CTA released a statement reading in part: “The CTA understands that this ad may be offensive to our customers. While the courts have ruled this ad is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, we object to its divisive message.”

The ads will run for the next four weeks on 10 CTA buses, bringing in an estimated $45,000 dollars in revenue for the CTA.