The FBI has bowed to pressure and will take down those bus ads that show photos of the most wanted terrorists.
After a wave of criticism from politicians, advocacy groups and the public, 46 bus ads featuring photos of wanted terrorists will be taken down within the next few weeks, officials said Tuesday.
The “Faces of Global Terrorism” ad was criticized for promoting stereotypes of Muslims and painting a broad brush against one group.
That “wave” of criticism evidently includes Rep. Jim McDermott and a local Muslim advocate. Which was enough.
Titan, the company that handles King County Metro bus advertising, received a request Tuesday afternoon from the task force that the ads be taken down, according to King County Metro spokesman Jeff Switzer. Two different ads without photos will remain on billboards, light rail and at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
The decision to remove the bus ads was “a result of our continued engagement with the community and the feedback we are getting,” FBI Special Agent Fred Gutt said.
U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott wrote a letter last week to FBI Director Robert Mueller expressing concern over the ads, saying the ad would “only serve to exacerbate the disturbing trend of hate crimes against Middle Eastern, South Asian and Muslim-Americans.”
“When you start saying that this is the face of terrorism, you are really stigmatizing a whole group of people,” McDermott, D-Seattle, said Tuesday.
They are, literally, the faces of terrorism. They weren’t picked out of a modeling casting call. They’re all actual wanted terrorists.
The 16 men in the ad are affiliated with extremist groups around the world. Seven are from African countries, four are from the Philippines, one each is from Malaysia and Chechnya, and three were born in the United States.
When a bus is whizzing by at 35 mph, McDermott said, it’s difficult to look closely at each photo and see the differences.
“The impression you get is that terrorism is caused by brown-skinned men with beards, and occasionally they wear a turban — which isn’t true,” McDermott said.
McDermott coddled Saddam Hussein, so he’s not exactly a reliable witness here.
What probably happened here is that the FBI showed some initiative to run the ads. Once Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama got wind of it, they saw to it that it got quashed.
The Obama administration has an enemies list, which consists of three c’s — conservatives, Catholics and coal. If you’re not among those three groups, you’re probably safe during Obama’s second term.