When Cyrus McGoldrick, advocacy director for the New York office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), logged into Facebook on August 12 to hint at his desire to vandalize anti-jihad ads that may soon run on city buses, he did not simply underline CAIR’s troubling attitude toward free expression. McGoldrick’s words — and the subsequent actions of others — have illuminated an overlooked aspect of the Islamist assault on Western speech: the defacement, if not obliteration, of political and commercial messages.

“In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad,” states the advertisement that infuriated McGoldrick. The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) had to win a court battle to reverse the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s previous decision to reject it, but reluctant bureaucrats, who continue to delay, are not the only obstacle to disseminating these and similar views. After claiming that “the ads are great” because they expose their allegedly “racist, supremacist, hateful” backers, McGoldrick’s post ends with this provocative thought: “I almost DON’T want to protest/vandalize them. But then again …” — remarks followed by a mischievous emoticon. Coincidence or not, multiple copies of a separate AFDI “Islamorealism” ad — citing more than 19,000 Islamic terrorist attacks worldwide since 9/11 — were later destroyed at commuter rail stations in New York and Connecticut.

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