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Appeals court sides with bus system in fight over anti-Islam ad

A federal appeals court has upheld a suburban Detroit bus system's refusal to put anti-Muslim ads on its buses.

The ads read in part, "Fatwa on your head? Is your family or community threatening you? Leaving Islam?" And publicized a website called refugefromislam.com.

SMART rejected the ads as too political.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative sued on free speech and equal protection grounds, and a lower court ruled against SMART.

But the U.S. Sixth Circuit reversed that ruling. It said the ad suggests that Muslim-Americans who decide to leave Islam will be threatened or killed. The court said SMART's restrictions on advertisements are reasonable, and don't violate the First Amendment.

Sarah Hulett is Michigan Radio’s Director of Enterprise & Longform, helping reporters to do their best work.