The winning cartoon depiction of the Prophet Muhammad that resulted in the death of two people at an event in Texas last month will not be coming to a local Metro bus any time soon.
Pamela Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, submitted the cartoon to run as an advertisement on Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority buses and at some rail stations.
However, a decision was made during a May 22 WMATA board meeting to “temporarily suspend all issue-oriented advertisements throughout the Metrorail and bus system until the end of the calendar year,” said spokesman Mike Tolbert.
The board of director’s vote was unanimous. Tolbert said the Muhammad cartoon ad “did not come up in this meeting,” but that the specific ad has “not been approved for use” as of May 28.
During the suspension, WMATA will review the placing of political ads on buses and in metro stations and “what role such ads play in Metro’s mission to deliver safe, reliable and equitable transportation service,” Tolbert said in a press release.
Metro will speak with riders and community groups before making a decision on how to proceed, he said. Geller said she requested that the ads run in this area because “it’s the nation’s capital.”
America “can stand up” to this violence “or submit it and give the signal we are giving in,” she said, adding, “Drawing Muhammad is not illegal under American law, only Islamic law.”
Geller said the two men who opened fire and were shot at the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest in Texas are “solely” responsible for the violence. [email protected] @SuzannePollak