The FBI has taken down its Seattle-area bus ads featuring the “Faces of Global Terrorism” after receiving complaints, including from one member of Congress, that the ads stereotype Muslims.
Last week, Washington congressman Jim McDermott (D) wrote a letter to FBI director Robert Mueller, saying the ads “only serve to exacerbate the disturbing trend 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,” he added.
According to the Seattle Times, King County Metro, the city’s transit authority, had received six complaints about the ads. An FBI spokesperson said the decision to remove all 46 ads was because of “the feedback we are getting.”
The FBI pointed out that the ads show terrorists from all over the world, including from African countries, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Chechnya; and three were born in the U.S. McDermott countered that it is hard to distinguish the faces as the buses drive by.
Jeff Siddiqui, the founder of American Muslims of Puget Sound, applauded the FBI’s decision to pull the ads. He said that his organization could now “rebuild a relationship” with the agency. “Please God, let it be a relationship of open communication and trust.”
The ads will be taken down in the next seven to ten days.