There is no denying that Pope Francis has proven to be a significant global voice, and not just for Catholics. The Church’s 266th pope has become known for his gestures of humility and compassion toward people from all walks of life. Simultaneously, his unwavering statements on universal issues like poverty, climate change and social justice have captivated political, social and religious leaders around the globe.
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Throughout the last month of the spring semester, anti-Muslim advertisements were carried throughout Philadelphia’s neighborhoods on dozens of SEPTA buses. The message they offered, “Islamic Jew Hatred: It’s in the Quran” is a false one, tailored to incite prejudice and division among viewers and the community. A diverse array of political, religious and civic leaders in Philadelphia rallied against the advertisements in the weeks prior to their appearance, unfortunately to no avail. A federal court ultimately backed the ads, citing the constitutional free expression rights of American Freedom Defense Initiative, the private political extremist organization that sponsored them.