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Thu 2 Apr 2015 02:40 PM

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Anti-Islam ads roll out on Philadelphia buses

The bus company that sold the ad space lost a court appeal to have the provocative ads banned

Anti-Islam ads roll out on Philadelphia buses

Controversial anti-Muslim ads have started running on dozens of buses in the US state of Philadelphia after the bus company lost a legal bid to have them banned.

The bus company SEPTA had sought to prevent the potentially inflammatory ads from appearing on its buses but a judge ruled they were legal, according to local media.

It is the second such case in the US in recent months, after a similar ruling in New York City.

The Philadelphia ads feature a photo from the 1940s with Adolf Hitler talking to a Palestinian leader and the text: "Islamic Jew Hatred: It's in the Quran".

They were created by the pro-Israel group American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), which paid $30,000 for the ad space.

SEPTA claimed it did not realise the content of the ads when it accepted the money and sought to have them legally banned.

Opponents rallied against the ads on Tuesday, with religious leaders and SEPTA urging those offended by them not to retaliate with violence or graffiti.

In September, the New York transport authority approved the AFDI’s series of anti-Islamic advertisements to run on public buses in what was described as a provocative campaign.

In addition to the Adolf Hitler ad, another featured an image of the American journalist James Foley, who was beheaded by ISIL, with a member of the militant group. The image was taken from the video of his murder, according to local media.

The ads appeared on 100 buses and two subway entrances.

AFDI’s president Pam Geller defended the ads, denying they would incite hate of Muslims and cited the first amendment's guarantee of free speech.

One image was rejected by the New York transport authority, for fear it would be seen as a call to violence against Jews, The Telegraph said in September.