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Activist arrested in New York for defacing anti-Muslim poster

26 September 2012 General 31 Comments Email This Post Email This Post
Mona Eltahawy, who was arrested for defacing the poster on the New York subway. Photograph: Dan Callister

Mona Eltahawy, who was arrested for defacing the poster on the New York subway. Photograph: Dan Callister

Mona Eltahawy arrested after painting over American Freedom Defense Initiative poster that equates Muslims with savage

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 were put up in the city by the anti-Muslim American Freedom Defense Initiative, led by Pam Geller. They 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, who is identified as Pamela Hall.

“Mona, do you think you have the right to do this?” Eltahawy is asked. “I do actually,” Eltahawy replies, adding: “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”.

During the Arab spring, Eltahawy was arrested in Cairo and suffered an assault by riot police which left her with two broken arms.

The Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) had originally ruled it would not permit the posters because they were demeaning, but was compelled to take the $6,000 (£3,700) ad after Geller’s group went to court.

Last month US district court judge Paul Engelmayer ruled that it is protected speech under the first amendment.

“Our hands are tied,” New York subway spokesman Aaron Donovan said. “Under our existing ad standards as modified by the injunction, the MTA is required to run the ad.”

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.”

As head of a group called Stop Islamization of America, Geller, a rightwing blogger, helped spur a long campaign two years ago to remove a planned Islamic community centre near the World Trade Centre site, which she called the “Ground Zero Mosque”.

Geller’s group has also placed posters in other stations north of New York City that read: “It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.”

Original post: Activist arrested in New York for defacing anti-Muslim poster




    sorry i missed comment at me on the stevens rescuers article. just saw it and read it the other day but didn’t have time to respond. sorry to others for the long recap. but my memory is failing


    You wrote,
    yeah, well muslims didn’t drag him through the streets. great. no barbarism took place then. burning down the embassy and killing 4 people. no biggie. they didn’t drag the body through the streets. allah is the most merciful, the most forgiving. and muslims follow “the religion of peace”.

    “First off, where is Charles Johnson in anyway denying that the embassy was burned down by an angry mob? No where.” right, i didn’t mean to imply that he had. my no barbarism…no biggie, was menat to be a sarcastic comment that the intire situation even arose.
    “But the people who tried desperately to save Stevens were not part of that mob.” obviously.
    “Second of all, even if they did,” it would not prove people like Geller to be correct, in their views when it comes to Muslims in general or Islam.” true, but it would be yet another piece of anedotal of there being something inherently wrong in islam. so when is islam seperated from muslims? how is it that many islamic scholars, who most likely can read arabic, have come up with fiqh in favor of killing blasphemers?
    “Third, you don’t care that these people tried to save Stevens, contrary to what “counter Jihadists” were saying?” that’s not true. i think they acted valiantly and put themselves in great danger to do their best to help out our ambassador. kudos to them. and hopefully they are the majority in islam. unfortunately to my casual observation of the world, i greatly doubt it. and kudos to those libyians who marched on the militias and helped the government close them down.

    21 September 2012 at 12:39 am mike,

    “Oh, one more thing, has Jim Hoft, Pamela Geller, or John Hinderaker, retracted what they said about the people in that photo who tried to saved Stevens Life, and admitted that they were wrong, and apologized?”
    first i had never even hear of hoft or hinderaker before, nor geller until i started veiwing this website. i feel sorry for anyone who would asign any journalist standards to the blogosphere. look at this site, it calls itself a newspaper? and certainly it is a sad comment on the state of american society that anyone of gellers ilk could elicit the support of more than a handful. then again what does it say about islam when….sorry couldn’t resist.

    take it easy boss.

    21 September 2012 at 11:03 am

  2. that’s hilarious. so the ny post has teamed up with geller to get some publicity.

    “before she is tackled by a woman with a camera,” appearently some muslims don’t know what a tackle is either. who wrote that?

    ““I do actually,” Eltahawy replies, adding: “I think this is freedom of expression, just as [the ad] is freedom of expression.”” another egytpian/muslim who dosen’t understand freedom of speech.

    “Eltahawy, who says: “This is what happens in America when you non-violently protest.”” lol. yes if you break the law you may be arrested. simply being non-violent doesn’t sheild you from arrest. let me see if i can make a comparison that even dongo might understand. theft is none violent, yet still illeagal.


    you know what else will be a sad comment on the state of american society? when the facebook people start saying, why was she arrested. what about her freedom of speech.

  3. […] Activist arrested in New York for defacing anti-Muslim poster […]

  4. Yet if someone were to vandalize anything that is pro-Islamist, the Democratic Party and every “civil rights group” would be demanding hate crime charges.

  5. I like what she did. If there a legal fund for her defense or a fund for a fine, I’ll contribute. Imagine if the New York subway system permitted a poster like this:

    “Jews not wanted!”

    or this:

    “Germans, protect yourself! Don’t buy from Jews!”

  6. Hope she gets sued for damages to pricate property. If she doesn’t like the law of the US, she should feel free to move back to Jihadiland/Egypt, where she knows she will be treated the same as her last visit.

  7. Stupid bitch

  8. Gee Jane is that not a little harsh? She should be cited for vandalism and forced to replace the damaged property, but people do get upset. Of course we could label it a hate crime and send her to jail for years.

  9. So Bob, if I vandalized a terror mosque, would you pay for my defense?

  10. How is the poster anti-muslim?

  11. bob,

    she works for the ny post, i doubt she needs a defense fund. she clearly wanted to be arrested. don’t worry about her. america is not a muslim majority country (guided by the divine writ of the koran) like pakistan, bangladesh, afghanistan, saudi arabia, iran, somalia, libyia, egypt, indonesia..etc etc. she won’t be put to death by the mob or the government.

    jim hogshire,

    do you want to explain to bob about the court order? “Imagine if the New York subway system permitted a poster like this” strange comment don’t you think.

  12. Supposedly these were put up in response to some anti Israel posters that went up previously.

    Spencer said folks are threatening the MTA over this. In US you can’t hit spit or threaten. Protest nicely or else.

  13. Isn’t this the same lady who lost big time on a TV show to a Revert Muslim Sister over Hijab discussion? Wow, some people are just born to be losers….

  14. This was a planed and premeditated publicity stunt. After nearly being killed by a mob in Egypt she wants to make sure everyone knows that she is still a hard core anti-Semite and libtard. She should have been charged with assault as well.

  15. Usman,

    “Isn’t this the same lady who lost big time on a TV show to a Revert Muslim Sister over Hijab discussion? Wow, some people are just born to be losers….” what lady are you speaking of? your prononun to antecedent relationship is about as good as the koran’s. so do you think suicide bombers are born losers? how about the entire islamic world? afgahans, pakistanis, somalis, born losers? why is so much of the islamic world so poor and uneducated? so are not most muslims born losers? you all riot over a movie and cartoons. this woman, if you are referancing the white chick with the camera, she didn’t kill anyone. so what do you think of the hundereds maybe thousands of muslim who rioted over a movie and cartoons? fuck muhammad, he is a cocksucking piece of shit. i heard ali fucked him in the ass.

  16. Here is an interesting story. If you think you will have read several stories of various extremist Muslim groups donating money and running local charities as part of their basic Muslim belief structure. It also helps gain them a loyal following and political base. This story is from Greece and it covers Golden Dawn which is a anti immigrant group and its successes in these areas.


    Again we see a majority not actively seeking to control what a misled minority seeks to accomplish. The end result will be more people being killed and immigrants being thrown out of Greece or from more populated areas in much the same way that Muslims remove Christians from their community.

  17. Criley, that’s an interesting article and is extreme version of what happens when the recent policies in europe of unfettered immigration is pursued.

    In the city I was born in there are now many areas I wouldn’t go on foot (racial and physical abuse) or in a car (car insurance fraud) – there are gun battles fought on the streets now between large gangs of asian (paksitani and bangladeshi) young men. There were huge riots here by “asian” immigrants some years ago so now the authorities often don’t act because they are scared it will kick off more riots and destruction of property so the white folks move out of the city and more immigrants come into the city who set up their own shops and facilities causing the city center businesses to die – I don’t know anybody who goes into the city shopping now.

  18. Yes Usman …this is the same lady who condemned hijab restriction for muslim women…may be she has learned her lesson..now has got much free time to think about islam with free mind…

    And yes only few words for all the hatered anti islamic people out there….if you can’t digest the truth (Quran) so atleast don’t support the hatered ..cause it will effect all the communities no matter islamic or non islamic…

    And by the way whether we are muslim or jew or Christian ..all have the same basic belief that at the end (on judgement day) God will make clear who were wrong and who were right…. so til then follow your heart in the light of knowledge of God words (book) and keep patience …… don’t spread hatered…..

    Take care guys n have a nice day 🙂

  19. “And by the way whether we are muslim or jew or Christian ..all have the same basic belief that at the end (on judgement day) God will make clear who were wrong and who were right”

    What a thoroughly nasty god.

  20. Hi jane can you clerify …are you a aethiest….what do mean by a nasty god

  21. A nasty god is one who puts out a few messages then keeps quiet then picks and chooses who got it wrong and who goes to hell.

    Any god doing that would be a very nasty god.

  22. dongo,

    did one of your hot pokers get out of hand?



    you don’t find the god of abraham to be nasty? do you not belive the stories of the old test to be true? but i think jane maybe refering to eternal damnation. the lake of fire, the great fire of which men and stones are the fuel. you don’t find it nasty to condemn a soul to eternal damnation for an earthly mistake? so if the christians are wrong about jesus being god incarnate, they are the losers? how about these buddists and hindus? if you don’t believe that muhammad was a prophet or the last prophet, what then?

  23. so how many of the 1.5 billion muslims in the world have “properly” digested “the truth”. you don’t find it strange that muslims are in conflict with non-muslims in much of the world? or other muslims.


  24. Mona looks childish here.

    That riot in Bangladesh is just another attempt to clear an area of non muslims. Muslims are tribalistic ethnic cleansers, they can’t rest because nothing is ever pure enough or good enough, must be out killing somebody. Always have plenty of unemployed ignorant young men on hand for riots. The gov or the mosques use the mobs, it is riot politics.

    A light bulb seems to have gone on in Libya though. A connection has been made between riots and losing business deals. I bet those Chinese construction projects were employing Libyans.

  25. How about this little pip? News blanket on it till now i guess.

    Thank God for the internet.

  26. HuffPosters are speculating that the Bangladesh riot was to get back at Buddhists for killing Rohingya in Burma. Collective guilt dontcha know.

    Speculation that someone pasted a burned Koran pic on some boy’s Facebook page to use as an excuse. Like the Rimsha Masih case. Bet it was an imam who posted it.

    Usual muslim junk. Why would a non muslim want to see a muslim coming?

  27. aaisha,

    muslims don’t kill christians? you may be a very nice young lady, but you seem clueless.


  28. “positive contributions of muslims every single day in our country..”

    Where? When? What? How?

  29. They are recanting their testimony that the imam put Koran pages in the bag. Guess their courage couldn’t hold up. Imam denies it of course.

    Individual muslims make fine contributions. It’s just that too many of them are theocratic delusionists.

    The Islamic program is to: wrap all women in cloth, destroy Israel, kill the Jews and other designated offenders, and shut us all up. Its like if Stalin were pope.

  30. anon,

    didn’t view your link last visit. that is amazing. i wish the senator would have spoken, and explained to that jackass iman that we can blasphemy anyone we want in america. i’m not generally a love it or leave it type person. but clearly some muslims have such a basic lack of understanding what freedom of speech in america is, that they should just leave the country.

    if i was the senator i would have stayed and spoke and closed my remarks with, MUHAMMAD WAS A COCKSUCKING, PIECE OF SHIT, BASTARD. tell the UN to try and come arrest me for that. and to the chick, let the ummah rose up and try to fight us. that is laughable. ya’ll can’t even beat the israelis. bring da funk bring da noise. your children are martyrs because ya’ll can figure out the point in war is to kill your enemy, not die, dumbass.

  31. Above it all, a plane was writing Never Forget in the NYC sky.

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