Winner 2013 Webby Awards for Best Political Website
Top Banner, Site wide
Apr 20, 2014

 Choose a size
Text Size

Top Leaderboard, Site wide

First Solar Bread Oven Takes a Bow
Drought Adds to Syria’s Misery

The Divide

Truthdig Bazaar
The Fire Next Time

The Fire Next Time

By James Baldwin

The Case for Big Government

The Case for Big Government

By Jeff Madrick

more items

Ear to the Ground

Activist Arrested for Defacing Anti-Muslim Poster (Video)

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

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.

The Guardian:

The posters have attracted widespread condemnation including from Jewish figures. Among those who have spoken out against them is Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, of Rabbis for Human Rights — North America, who wrote for CNN online: “As a rabbi, I find the ads deeply misguided and disturbing. … The coded message makes clear who the savages are: those who support jihad, which in Geller’s mind includes all Muslims. She has called Islam ‘an extreme ideology, the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the Earth’.

“As a Jew, I know the extreme to which baseless hatred can lead. And the Jewish community has been in the past a target of hatred in the United States. Geller’s message ignores the positive contributions that our Muslim friends, neighbours and colleagues make to our country every single day.

“It is also unfortunate that Geller chooses to frame her message of hatred as one of support for Israel.”

Read more

More Below the Ad


Square, Site wide

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.


sign up to get updates

Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.