It's the kind of campaign that turns our stomachs. An anti-Islamic organization has purchased advertisements on public transportation platforms in New York, attacking Muslims.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative associates Islam with thousands of terrorist attacks carried out since Sept. 11, 2001, saying “It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.”

Hurtful, hateful and untrue, but free speech.

That's the rub to the First Amendment. Sometimes we won't like what other people have to say. But the ACLU will always defend their right to say it.

At the same time, we will emphatically stand up for another crucial part of the First Amendment -- the right to freedom of religion.

While private groups are free to say what they want, government cannot discriminate against people of any particular faith or impose any religion on us.

That's why the ACLU defends Islamic groups' right to build mosques and other religious centers without discrimination in the zoning process and has worked to help groups in Tennessee and Kentucky.

And that's why we are vigilant in our fight against Muslim profiling by the Transportation Security Administration at airports and by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in its training.

Bigoted speech is legal. Bigoted behavior is not.