Recently, I observed this image while using the NYC metro.
The American Freedom Defense Initiative is an organization promoted by Pamela Geller (who is worth an independent youtube search). It is undoubtedly a powerful and emotional image, juxtaposing Quaranic verse with the destruction of the World Trade Center. There does not appear to be any objective other than calling awareness to this particular verse and its apparent destructive implications.
Before commenting further, I think it is important to hear the entire verse (3:151) from which this is an excerpt:
We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve for what they have associated with Allah of which He had not sent down [any] authority. And their refuge will be the Fire, and wretched is the residence of the wrongdoers.
Accordingly, we can use a quotation from Arsalan Ifikhar to begin to unpack this verse:
Her (Geller’s) cherry-picked quote from Quran 3:151 above actually refers to the famous Battle of Badr, where the Prophet Muhammad had to defeat back attacking pagan Arab idolaters. Most importantly, this verse (and most other verses dealing with historical battles) refer to hostile pagan idolaters who attacked Muslims and they do not refer to Christians or Jews
Indeed, while the Quran does issues warnings or suspicions of Christians and Jews (the other monotheistic and Abrahamic faiths), there are many passages which appear quite different and promote respect over differences. It may surprise many that Jesus is mentioned 25 times in the Quran, is considered a prophet by Muslims, and according to Islam will return near the Judgement Day to slay the Antichrist. If one traveled to Medina to view the tomb of Mohammed, an empty tomb would be found adjacent to his. This tomb is reserved for Jesus.
Consider the following verse as a replacement for the metro poster:
Nearest among them in love to the believers will you find those who say, ‘We are Christians,’ because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant (5:82)
Or perhaps these quotations from the Bible:
Ezekiel 9:6 Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women
Matthew 10:34 I come not to bring peace, but a sword
Psalms 137: Happy is the one who takes your babies and smashes them against the rocks.
I have deliberately left out the context here to allow for innumerable conclusions/contortions to be exhibited.
Why did I write this?
Mainly to show that with the right words in the right positions, one can create just about any assertion. Though I am far from an expert of religious texts, I believe that a central tenant of the Bible and the Quran are the multitudes of example and counter-example, cautioning in one instance while reassuring in the other. Indeed if one is to believe that these texts are revelations from God, then how better to interpret them as balanced advice.