Bus Ads Offer Protection to Muslims Leaving Their Faith

NY bus ads come at same time as opposition to mosque near 9/11 site.

ByABC News
May 26, 2010, 5:53 PM

May 27, 2010— -- A conservative gadfly and her organization have plastered more than two dozen New York City buses with ads asking: "Leaving Islam? Fatwa on your head? Is your family threatening you?"

The $10,000 ad campaign appears at a time of heightened tension, with the city embroiled in a contentious debate over a proposal to build a mosque and Islamic center near ground zero in lower Manhattan. Muslim leaders call the ads inflammatory.

It also comes after a well publicized case of a Muslim girl who fled her family claiming her life was in danger because she had converted to Christianity.

The bus billboards advise those who want to leave Islam to visit RefugefromIslam.com for guidance.

"We've gotten a number of people who have reached out," Pamela Geller, a right-wing blogger and executive director of a group called Stop the Islamization of America, told ABCNews.com. "It's not a huge number, but then again it's not a huge campaign. I can't reveal anything about them except to say they were looking for help."

Geller said her campaign was partly inspired by the case of Fatimah Rifqa Bary, a Muslim teenager from Ohio who converted to Christianity and fled to Florida in fear of retaliation. "She didn't know where to go," Geller said.

Bary gained national attention last July when she fled to Florida on a bus after her parents learned that she was baptized without their knowledge. Though she insisted that her father and members of his mosque would kill her, three separate investigations turned up no evidence that her life was in danger.

Bary, who now lives with a foster family in Ohio, received bad news recently. She was diagnosed with uterine cancer. She was to have surgery today.