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The editor of a Nashville newspaper said he was “horrified” to see a full-page ad from a religious organization that predicted an end-of-the-world scenario as well as a terrorist attack on the city next month.
The ad, published Sunday, features a photo of President Donald Trump and Pope Francis, along with burning American flags, and claims that he “is the final president of the USA,” The Associated Press and Fox News reported.
The ad begins by claiming that a nuclear device will be exploded in Nashville and that the attackers would be acting on behalf of unspecific “Islam” interests.
The AP reported that the ad was a violation of The Tennessean’s long-established prohibition against hate speech.
The ad is the second one this week from a group called Future for America. On Wednesday, the paper published an ad from the group which stated that its intention is to warn residents of Nashville about what is allegedly coming next month “so that they may be able to make a decision intelligently.”
“Clearly there was a breakdown in the normal processes, which call for careful scrutiny of our advertising content. The ad is horrific and is utterly indefensible in all circumstances. It is wrong, period, and should have never been published,” said Vice President and Editor Michael A. Anastasi.
“It is inconsistent with everything The Tennessean as an institution stands and has stood for and with the journalism we have produced,” he added.
“It has hurt members of our community and our own employees and that saddens me beyond belief. It is inconsistent with everything The Tennessean as an institution stands and has stood for.”
The paper’s ad sales executives ordered the advertisement to be excluded from future additions of the paper, staffers said.
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said his organization appreciates that the “Islamophobic” full-page ads were pulled from the paper and that an investigation into how they were allowed to be published in the first place.
However, “we would urge The Tennessean to also implement updated policies and staff training to ensure that this type of hate incident does not occur in the future. CAIR is willing to offer that training,” he said.
It wasn’t clear how much Future for America paid for the advertisements. It’s also not clear why Nashville is the alleged target, or what religious relevance it may have.
The Tennessean has issued an apology to residents of the city of Nashville.
“The advertisement that was placed within the Tennessean is not what we condone or stand for within our advertising department guidelines and procedures,” said Ryan Kedzierski, vice president of sales for Middle Tennessee.
“This advertisement should not have been published within The Tennessean and we are sincerely sorry that this mistake took place. We are extremely apologetic to the community that the advertisement was able to get through and we are reviewing internally why and how this occurred and we will be taking actions immediately to correct,” he added.
“No words or actions can describe how sorry we are to the community for the advertisements that were published. We will be utilizing the advertising dollars that went toward the full-page ad placements and donating those funds to the American Muslim Advisory Council.”
The Bonnerdale, Arkansas-based organization’s website is replete with end-of-times language, in reference to the Book of Revelations in the Bible.
Under the heading “Our Mission,” the page notes:
The ministry of Future for America is to proclaim the final warning message of Revelation 14 as identified by the prophecies of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. The end-time fulfillment of Bible prophecy is no longer future-for it is taking place before our eyes. The historic, prophetic understanding of Seventh-day Adventism is now present truth.
We are the final generation.
The organization also publishes a magazine called “The Time of The End.” In addition, the organization also solicits donations online, as well as a store where religious merchandise is sold.
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