Group hoping to place ads of 'Draw Muhammad' winning cartoon in Metro stations

There are big concerns among Metro riders as controversial free speech activist Pamela Geller says she wants to put up ads on Metrorail and bus stops showing the winning image from a "Draw Muhammad" contest in Texas this month that ended in gunfire.

(Warning: The cartoon image posted in this story may be deemed offensive to some. Viewer discretion is advised.)

Now, Metro is faced with a critical decision over approving the ad.

The central question for riders is this -- would ads featuring a cartoon of Muhammad incite Islamic extremists to violence?

Geller, the controversial leader of American Freedom Defense Initiative, says it's her right and it's not wrong.

"Political cartoons are political opinion," she said on Fox News Channel earlier this month.

Geller submitted a free speech ad to Metro featuring a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. It would be placed at the Foggy Bottom Capitol South, Bethesda, L'Enfant Plaza and Shady Grove rail stations and bus stops. The ads wouldn't go on the trains, but on advertising boards inside the stations.

Passengers we spoke with say they are not on board with it.

"I'm uncomfortable with that," said one rider.

"I wouldn't tell them not to, but I don't think I would be as comfortable taking the metro if they did," said another person.

"It wouldn't keep me from riding the trains, but I don't think it's a great idea," another rider told us.

Earlier in May, two ISIS-inspired gunmen opened fire and were killed by security outside a building in Texas where a cartoon contest was being held.

D.C. Metro riders say putting the cartoon up here is just asking for trouble.

"Yeah, it's free speech and all, but sometimes free speech goes a little too far," one rider told us.

"I don't think that we should be doing things that other people are finding offensive," said another Metro passenger.

Metro declined interviews and says the ad is still being reviewed. But the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says they don't like the ads, but they want Muslims and non-Muslims to ignore what they call a "publicly stunt."

We asked CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad if this is free speech or hate speech.

"We live in a free society," he said. "Free speech is there and we defend free speech."

The American Freedom Defense Initiative has won previous lawsuits to post anti-Islam ads. While Metro's ad regulations state the right reject "obscene" ads -- legally -- they may be forced to allow them under the First Amendment.

What we don't know right now is the timetable on all of this. Metro would not say how long they would take in making their decision.

Geller posted a statement saying any violence that arises from the cartoons is the responsibility of the Islamic jihadists who perpetuate it.

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