Plaintiffs’ proposed ad states, in prominent text: “The FBI Is Offering Up To $25 Million Reward If You Help Capture One Of These Jihadis.” That statement is demonstrably and indisputably false. The FBI is not offering a reward up to $25 million for the capture of one of the pictured terrorists. The FBI is not offering rewards at all, and the State Department offers a reward of at most $5 million, not $25 million, for the capture of one of the pictured terrorists.Plaintiffs do not, and cannot, refute those basic facts. Instead, Plaintiffs speculate that the factual inaccuracies are not relevant because, for example, someone calling the FBI to collect a reward will likely be directed to the State Department.In addition to being speculative, Plaintiffs’ assertions are beside the point. It is indisputable that Plaintiffs’ proposed ad is plainly inaccurate as a simple matter of fact. As applied here, then, section 6.2.4 likely is “sufficiently definite and objective to prevent arbitrary or discriminatory enforcement by County officials.” …[W]e note that rejections surviving constitutional scrutiny will, in most if not all cases, concern advertisements that can be corrected easily. Here, for example, Plaintiffs could have submitted a corrected advertisement that substituted “The State Department” for “The FBI” and “$5 million” for “$25 million” — or fixed the factual inaccuracies in countless other ways.An unreasonable response by Metro to an advertiser’s attempt to correct factual inaccuracies could give rise to an inference of unreasonableness or viewpoint-based conduct. Here, however, Plaintiffs declined to discuss the rejection with Metro and chose to stand on their factually inaccurate ad.
Finally, the term “jihadis” has varying meanings. While many individuals have conflated the terms jihad and terrorism, the term “jihad” has several meanings, including:(1) “a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty” [footnote: This appears to be the definition of the term that AFDI invokes in referring to terrorists as jihadi.]; (2) “a personal struggle in devotion to Islam especially involving spiritual discipline”; (3) “a crusade for a principle or belief”; (4) “(among Muslims) a war or struggle against unbelievers”; (5) “(also greater jihad) Islam the spiritual struggle within oneself against sin.” See Merriam-Webster, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jihad (last visited Jan. 15, 2014); Oxford English Dictionary, http://english.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/jihad?region=us (last visited Jan. 15, 2014); see also Dkt. # 13 (Desmond Decl.) ¶ 26 (“By my understanding of the term, the concept of ‘jihad’ refers not only to physical struggles, but more importantly, to the inner struggle by a believer to fulfill his religious duties to Islam.”).Additionally, there is no dispute that each of the individuals included in Exhibit C to Geller’s declaration engaged in terrorist activities. However, there is no evidence before the court that any of the individuals pictured in the ad referred to themselves as “jihadis” or performed the terrorist acts in the name of “jihad,” as opposed to any other reason. Accordingly, the court finds that the ad’s use of the term “jihadis” to mean terrorist is likely misleading.[Footnote: For the same reasons, the court also notes that it is likely that a reasonably prudent person would believe that the AFDI ad contains material that is abusive or hostile to, or debases the dignity of stature of practitioners of the Muslim faith who are not terrorists and take their sacred duty of “jihad" (the personal or spiritual struggle) seriously.]
[P]olitical speech does not lose First Amendment protection simply because the listener believes that it is false or disagrees with the message it advances. Allowing the state to restrict political speech based on an assessment that it is false or inaccurate, offends First Amendment principles.