At least 10 Regional Transportation District buses are displaying ads deemed by some as anti-Islamic and have drawn the ire of the Anti-Defamation League.

The ads were bought by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which displayed similar ads in New York and Boston.

The ads read: "9,757 Deadly Islamic Attacks Since 9/11/01. It's Not Islamophobia, It's Islamorealism. This Ad Paid For By The American Freedom Defense Initiative."

Scott Levin, The Anti-Defamation League's Mountain States regional director said Wednesday the ads are "highly offensive and inflammatory. These advertisements stereotype an entire religion based on the actions of extremists," Levin said.

Still, the organization supports free speech guarantees embodied in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Levin said. "ADL understands the best way to combat hate speech is with more speech, exposing hateful speech for its false content and innuendo, setting the record straight and promoting respect," Levin said.

RTD spokesman Scott Reed said the ads were purchased in late October and are scheduled to run for four weeks. The ads were reviewed by RTD's legal staff which found no legal grounds to reject them.

RTD does not condone or endorse the ad's message, Reed said. "It is important to know that the American Defense Initiative, not RTD, is responsible for the content of the ads," Reed said.


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Transit agencies that have challenged the ads in court all have lost, Reed added.

Monte Whaley: 720-929-0907, mwhaley@denverpost.com or twitter.com/montewhaley