FBI pulling advertisements off 46 Seattle metro buses after some complain of Muslim stereotyping

by: Graham Johnson Updated:


SEATTLE - The FBI says it's pulling advertisements off 46 Metro buses in the Seattle area, after some people complained that they stereotyped Muslims.

The ads, which began running this month in connection with a State Department program, features pictures of 16 men wanted around the globe for terrorist activities below the words: "Faces of Global Terrorism."

Among those criticizing the ads was U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott of Seattle, who suggested they gave the impression that "terrorism only comes from one religion or one color of people," and said the ads might increase the risk of hate crimes against Middle Eastern, South Asian and Muslim Americans.

"That is not the face of terrorism," McDermott told KIRO 7 on Wednesday. "Terrorism is what's in people's minds. There are white terrorists and there are brown terrorists and black and there's all kind of terrorists. So to put it on the bus and say this is the face of terrorism is to really brand one group of people unfairly." 

Although the ads do not identify the terrorists by religion, Jeff Siddiqui of American Muslims of Puget Sound says the message is clear.

"Anyone who looks at this ad is going to say Muslims are the face of global terrorism and the bigots are going to have a heyday," Siddiqui said. 

FBI spokeswoman Ayn Sandalo Dietrich said "there is value still in putting out those images but we probably have more to learn on what's the proper way to package that information." The FBI is working to swap out those ads with others promoting the State Department's "Rewards for Justice" program.

Metro says it will take between seven and 10 days to remove the ads from buses.