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"Leaving Islam" - Anti-Muslim group wins legal round against suburban Detroit bus system

examples of the side bus posters the American Freedom Defense Initiative has been running in other cities

An anti-Muslim group might be closer to getting its message on the sides of city buses in Detroit.  The American Freedom Defense Initiative bought 4 thousand dollars worth of  advertising on Detroit buses last April.  But the bus system objected to language used on the posters, which talked about ‘Leaving Islam’.

However, a federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction against  the suburban bus system, known as SMART.  The judge said the decision to reject the ads was unreasonable, "arbitrary and capricious."

Pam Geller is with the group behind the bus poster campaign.  

“Clearly this is a victory, not just for myself, but in the larger scheme of things, for the First Amendment.”

The SMART system has not commented on the judge’s preliminary injunction. 

The judge has scheduled a conference with the attorneys for later this month.  

The American Freedom Defense Initiative has been running poster ads on buses in several U.S. cities, including New York and Miami,  for the past year.  It’s unclear when or if the anti-Islamic ads will appear on the city buses.    

“They still have my money.  And the still have my posters.   So hopefully this can go up…the sooner the better.”  says Geller. 


Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.