Joe O'Neill, Tampa Tribune
Would that this were not a big deal. Officially, it's now permissible for the Florida Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to advertise on local buses.
This means we can soon expect to see some Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) buses wrapped with the message: "CAIR FLORIDA: Embracing Diversity at Work, Defending Civil Rights in the Community." It will join the ranks of buses wrapped with ads ranging from Uncle Bob's Self Storage and eBay to the Florida State Fair and St. Leo University.
But up until a couple of weeks ago, that CAIR ad had been banned.
HART's board had rejected it on religious grounds back in August. The board (by an 8-2 vote) had seen the ad as a promotion of religion -- not as a promotion of diversity and offer of free legal advice to those of all religions and persuasions. It was a reminder that this is Hillsborough, and conservative activist Terry Kemple has a lot more followers than does CAIR Florida's Tampa executive director Hassan Shibly. (Read more)