Detroit bus agency can reject ‘Leaving Islam?’ ads
DETROIT — A group offering to help Muslims who want to leave their religion has lost a key court ruling in a dispute over ads on Detroit-area buses.
In 2011, a federal district judge said a bus agency known as SMART likely violated the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s free-speech rights by rejecting the ads. But the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday erased the injunction, saying SMART’s ad restrictions were reasonable and didn’t violate the First Amendment.
The proposed ads said, “Fatwa on your head? Leaving Islam? Got questions? Get answers!”
The appeals court said the ads were political and thus were covered by SMART’s ban on political, non-commercial messages. SMART has defended the policy, saying it doesn’t want to offend riders and lose business.
SMART serves riders in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.