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Vandals Waste No Time Defacing Anti-Jihad Subway Ads

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TWC News: Vandals Waste No Time Defacing Anti-Jihad Subway Ads
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Not satisfied by just speaking out against a controversial ad that calls enemies of Israel "Savages", some critics have defaced the subway platform advertisements.

The ads debuted in 10 stations in Manhattan Monday.

Overnight, several of them in stations from 23rd Street up to 42nd Street have been altered with stickers reading "Hate Speech" and "Racist".

The American Freedom Defense Initiative won a court battle against the MTA in July to have the ads posted.

A federal judge agreed they are protected by the First Amendment.

The group claims they speak out against extremists, and not Islam.

The MTA says the vandalism is a police matter.

The billboard owner, CBS Outdoor, said it will re-post the ads for as long as they have extra copies.

Riders who spoke with NY1 were mixed on the ads.

"This type of speech promotes bigotry and hatred and I think that is a bigger issue than freedom of speech," said one subway rider.

"Vandalism is a crime, but I do think she has a right to put up these posters to proselytize her viewpoint," said another subway rider.

Meantime, a coalition of community and faith based organizations held a rally on the steps of City Hall denouncing the advertisements.

One group - the United Methodist Women - is releasing their own counter ad.

"We needed to be present with a counter voice, we need to stand for the work of peace, and to say that free speech should not be used recklessly or in an inflammatory or divisive way," said Harriett Olson of United Methodist Women.

The group's ads are expected to go up in the next few days.

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