Mona Eltahawy, the prominent Egyptian-American writer and activist, has been arrested in New York, after spraying paint over a controversial poster on the subway that has been condemned for equating Muslims with “savages”.
The posters which have been put up in the city by the anti-Muslim American Freedom Defense Initiative, led by Pam Geller, were approved by a US court, which ruled that they were “political” statements and protected by the first amendment, which guarantees free speech.
The poster states: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.” Between two Stars of David, it adds: “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
Eltahawy was arrested after a supporter of Geller’s initiative attempted to prevent her defacing the sign with a purple aerosol.
The posters are now displayed in 10 New York stations – including Grand Central and Times Square – after a court ruled that the local transport authority could not refuse the ads.
In a video posted online of the incident by the New York Post, Mona Eltahawy can be seen attempting to paint over the poster before she is tackled by a woman with a camera identified as Pamela Hall. “Mona, do you think you have the right to do this?” Eltahway is asked. “I do actually,” Eltahawy replies.
“I think this is freedom of expression, just as [the ad] is freedom of expression.” As the scuffle continues two police officers appear to then arrest Eltahawy, who says: “This is what happens in America when you non-violently protest.”
Eltahawy, who has written for this paper, was later charged with “criminal mischief” and “graffiti”.
We look forward to Geller denouncing Eltahawy as a Muslim Brotherhood operative.
For further examples of Geller’s poster being defaced, see Mondoweiss, 25 September 2012
Update: This is almost as mad. Geller in fact describes Eltahawy as an “Islamic supremacist”!
Update 2: See “Activist Mona Eltahawy released after arrest in New York subway protest”, Guardian, 26 September 2012