The controversial ads unveiled on the back of 10 CTA buses Wednesday read, "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man." They conclude with the words, "Support Copts. Defeat Jihad," referring to friction between Muslims and Coptic Christians in Egypt.
Within hours of the buses' first runs, messages appeared on Facebook and Twitter denouncing the campaign. Many said degrading a spiritual tenet of Islam -- one that refers to a Muslim's personal quest to become a better person -- amounts to hate speech.
"This whole campaign insinuates Muslims are violent," said Asaf Bar-Tura, programs director for the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, which protested the ads on social media Wednesday. "If it's within their legal powers, (CTA) should either not put it up because they incite hate and stereotypical thinking or put a label next to each sign saying 'The CTA disagrees with this ad.'"