Dec 10, 2013
Activist Arrested for Defacing Anti-Muslim Poster (Video)
Posted on Sep 26, 2012
Mona Eltahawy, a prominent Egyptian-American activist and writer whose arms were broken in Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring, was arrested at a Times Square subway station after spraying paint over a controversial poster that has drawn broad condemnation for equating Muslims with “savages.”
The posters, which read: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad,” are the work of Pamela Geller, leader of the anti-Muslim American Freedom Defense Initiative. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority initially rejected the ads, saying they passed the agency’s threshold for “demeaning” language. But a New York judge ruled that the advertisements were protected as free speech under the First Amendment. Transit officials in Washington, D.C., have so far refused to run the ads “out of a concern for public safety, given current world events,” acknowledging that the bills might incite more of the violence seen in attacks on U.S. embassies throughout the Arab world in recent weeks.
Eltahawy defended her attack on the ad with purple aerosol as “expressing myself freely against hate and racism.” A video of the incident shows a woman identified as Pamela Hall placing herself between Eltahawy and the poster as Eltahawy sprayed the image with paint, through which the message remained visible.
“You have a lotta nerve, Mona,” Hall said.
“No I don’t have nerve,” Eltahawy replied. “You know what I have? I have an understanding of racism.”
Minutes into the confrontation, two police officers arrived and arrested Eltahawy. Both officers refused to tell her why she was being arrested. One insisted she had endangered Hall by continuing to paint the poster after Hall stood in her way.
“I’m Egyptian-American and I refuse hate,” Eltahawy shouted to a crowd of bystanders as she was led away in handcuffs. “I will continue to nonviolently protest hate, and that is hate and racism. This is what happens in America when you nonviolently protest.”
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
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