NEW YORK, (AFP) - Starting Monday, ads describing Muslim militants as "savages" will appear in New York's subway system, courtesy of a right-wing US anti-Islamic group.
"In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad," read the ads that the American Freedom Defense Initiative paid to be shown in the sprawling subway.
AFDI chief Pamela Geller told CNN: "I'm running them because I can."
The conservative activist, who runs the Atlas Shrugs blog and heads a group called Stop Islamization of America, defended her use of the word "savage," claiming that jihad, in the sense of holy war, targets innocent people.
"I think any war against innocent civilians is savagery," she said.
Geller insisted that the ads were not anti-religious because neither the words Islam nor Muslim appear in the ad.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, described Geller as "the anti-Muslim movement's most visible and flamboyant figurehead."
The AFDI went to court to force the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority to accept the ads.
"I will not sacrifice my speech so as to not offend savages," said Geller.
"This is freedom of expression, this is freedom of speech," she added, noting that a federal judge ruled that her ad was guaranteed under freedom of speech protections enshrined in the US Constitution.
The controversial ads will run at a time when demonstrations are sweeping Muslim countries to protest a crudely made Internet video shot in the United States mocking Islam, and French cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.