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Egyptian activist arrested for spray-painting over controversial pro-Israel ads

Egyptian activist arrested for spray-painting over controversial pro-Israel ads

An Egyptian activist, Mona Eltahawy, was arrested yesterday in a New York City subway station as she was in the middle of spray-painting over pro-Israeli ads–and seeming to partially paint over a Manhattan mom who tried to shield the ads by standing in front of them. Eltahawy was charged with criminal mischief, making graffiti, and possession of a graffiti instrument.

Most of the controversial ads, placed in ten New York City subway stations by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, have been defaced. The ad equates Islamic jihad with “savagery.” The MTA had originally rejected that ads, but a court ruled that they must be displayed.

In the video below, Eltahawy can be heard saying as she defaced the ads, “Get off me or I’m going to go get the police….Get out of my way, I’m not going to stop it….You sound like a parody.” Elthaway defended herself to the woman by saying it was her “freedom of expression” to deface the advertisements:

A policeman comes up to her as she is in the middle of spray-painting the billboard, and tells her she is under arrest. She then says, “I’m expressing myself freely,” and then “this is what happens to nonviolent protesters in America in 2012…she got in my way!” Earlier in the day, Eltahawy tweeted her intentions:

At a suburban New York train station, they have been having their own “billboard war,” kicked off in July when the Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine first placed ads that were anti-Israel.

Once again the meaning of freedom of speech is being debated as people seek not only to express political beliefs through advertising, but some believe defacing property is another form of free speech. Continue to follow Eltahawy’s experience in learning the legal meaning of free speech by reading her tweets, where she is documenting events as they happen.


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Same-same with the revolting Eloi. “Occupying” whatever is a form of free speech. Except it isn’t, never was, and is often a criminal act.

No matter. They’re “aggrieved”, and you’re going to hear about it, bygawd!

Mona is one of those people who needs to spend six months in Pakistan.

    There or one of the other 20 countries that would welcome her. Why she could have “Mob Riot Parties” based along the lines of Tupperware Parties. I’m sure they’d really enjoy her insights about expressing one’s self.

    persecutor in reply to Ragspierre. | September 26, 2012 at 11:51 am

    No, she needs to spend 6 months in Saudi Arabia. Let’s see how her outspoken ways are received.

    More than willing to chip in some money to send her there!

    Weirddave in reply to Ragspierre. | September 27, 2012 at 12:57 am

    6 hours in Tahir Square would teach a powerful lesson. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, but I wonder if Lara Logan’s outlook on who and what is “savage” has changed. “There are none so blind as those who will not see”

Want to exercise your freedom of speech, Elthaway? Then buy your own subway ads, and express your disapproval of the anti-jihad ads in your own ads. Or speak out againt the anti-jihad ads on a blog. Or in a t.v. commercial. Or a radio commercial. Or in a book. Or in a pamphlet. Or in a poem. Or in a song. Or on a street corner.

Freedom of speech means expressing your own thoughts, opinions, or ideas in the forum of your choice. It does not mean using vandalism, violence, or threats of violence to prevent others from expressing any thoughts, opinions, or ideas with which you disagree.

Why is this concept so hard for leftists to comprehend?

    Maybe it’s time for (could we have a drum roll please) Obama to have a beer (wine) summit!

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Observer. | September 26, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Why is it so hard for Muslims and their apologists to understand?

    Because it’s not “freedom of speech” from a legal perspective. “Freedom of speech” from a legal perspective involves government action. There’s no government action here in spray painting over the ads.

    counsel4pay in reply to Observer. | September 26, 2012 at 10:38 pm


    I saw the images on my screen
    And I wondered at strange days
    For I had never thought to see
    The “audacity” of the depraved.
    Where “violence” is hailed as “speech”
    And assault is deemed a “right”’
    And, yet, I was renewed in faith,
    To see Pamela Hall last night!

    * Columbia is New Latin for the United States. Taken from Christopher Columbus, the term first appeared about 1775

ShakesheadOften | September 26, 2012 at 11:24 am

Suppressing free speech is not free speech.

    People say, many people, that we ought not to allow ourselves to be drawn into a theoretical antagonism […] But the antagonism is here, now. […] They are afraid of words, of thoughts. […] all the more powerful because forbidden. These, terrify them. A little mouse, a little tiny mouse of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentate is brought into panic. They make frantic efforts to bar out thoughts and words.

    That, I would say, is a fine description of the savage mind.

        JoAnne in reply to Squires. | September 26, 2012 at 12:12 pm

        Thank you for posting that clip. Powerful and still meaningful today, perhaps even more so today.

        I echo that. Why Churchill stated more enduring speech, and ever so inspiring, in 4 mins 17 secs than Obama has stated in more than 4 years.

        A FoxNews headline says, “Ahmadinejad goes out with whimper, not bang”. Here’s to the same headling appearing very soon about another so-called world leader who is full of just as much hot air!

          Churchill (The River Wars, 1899) knew a thing or two about Islam. See if what he observed is not in play to this very day, even in the subways of NYC,

          “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.”

          “[B]ut the influence of the religion [Islam[ paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science – the science against which it had vainly struggled – the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.”

    A few pro-life organizations want people to boycott United Airlines because the CEO is co-chairing a Planned Parenthood event. Isn’t that also a supression of free speech as you’re defining it?

      BannedbytheGuardian in reply to jim1. | September 26, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      I think the CEO is taking things too far.

      Sure I have seen some annoying kids on planes but I don’t want them killed off before they even get a name to put on their little luggage.

      Maybe after a flight I might reconsider.

      ShakesheadOften in reply to jim1. | September 27, 2012 at 9:52 am

      First, I don’t support boycotts a la Chick-fil-a (oh, wait, why didn’t you use that example? Hmm). But, yes, you have the right to not buy a product or service if you disagree with the politics of the owner. You even have the right to encourage others not to buy a product or service. I have often said, speech is free but not without consequence.

      You don’t have the right, however, to physically (or via laws/regulations) block OTHER people from choosing to use those services or buy those products (see Alderman, City of Chicago or Mayor, City of Boston).

      Since she was engaging in property destruction for the purpose of blocking legal free speech and/or to intimidate other people from expressing said free speech, THAT is the appropriate comparison. Your comparison was a misdirection.

Sue her for destruction of property.

Find out how much she enjoys having to pay to have those ads replaced.

Did she spray the other woman? Would this, in any other sane world besides NYC, be considered assault?

To me, this is destruction of property, plain and simple. So, she’s guilty. Why did she do it? We’ll take that into consideration as her fine/sentence is considered. Yet, it seems that in much of our court system this process has gotten blended (will consider why a person comitted act as to whether he’s guilty or not).

Conservative Beaner | September 26, 2012 at 11:39 am

If spray painting an ad is free speech, then taggers all over the country should not worry about being arrested for defacing property.

    Well, I have a poster. Like to see her attempt to spray paint it. Then, we’d see whose rights prevail: hers to “express” herself or my right to protect myself and my property. After all, I would only know afterwards that the can was only “loaded” with paint.

    Moreover, this is part of the “sickness” of our society. A lack of respect and responsibility to care for that which belongs not to the individual but the community. Oh, unless it’s the money of the community. That’s a different story.

Why isn’t she charged with assaulting the mom? She sprayed the mom with paint. I can clearly see the paint on the mom’s coat.

I’d be more sympathetic with Mona if she stopped spray-painting the ad when the mom decided to protect the ad.

It should not be free speech to destroy an ad you don’t agree with because that is blocking the free speech of another person.

Mona is arrogant and not civilized.

An Egyptian activist had to come to the Great Satan to let us know “I’m expressing myself freely,”.
Why didn’t she do it in Tahrir Square?

    David Yotham in reply to Vascaino. | September 26, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    She did protest in Tahrir Square and got a broken arm for her efforts, along with a little sexual foreplay from her guards. She learned that it was best to act like an idiot where they didn’t torture their prisoners – hence her sojourn to the Great Satan.

    There is only one thing you can do with savages, educate them with the whip of reality. Soft words and appeasement are signs of weakness to savages.

She has a post on her blog celebrating her new American citizenship. It’s instructive:

Now when I argue with Muslim-hating members of the Tea Party, I’ll wave the flag in their face.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Pablo. | September 26, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    We don’t hate Muslims. We do know that when somebody says they come to your country not to assimilate but to dominate, you should take them seriously. When somebody looks at your laws, man-made, with a view to using them against you to advance their anti-Constitution agenda, you should strip their citizenship and deport that person for violating their sworn oath to defend the USA and her Constitution. When someone waves your flag, not with approbation but as a weapon to be used against you, find a way to stop them without trampling on the Constitution. Muslims are a Fifth Column in our midst, one of many. We can openly acknowledge that without being accused of hating them.

I suggest reading up on Judge Paul Engelmeyer’s ruling on the right to run these ads, a case which the government plaintiff lost. It’s clear-headed and inspiring. The fact is, the MTA had previously approved and run similar anti-Israel ads.

We’re descending into intellectual and moral incoherence. The government exercises a naked double standard and attempts to shut down free speech, the defendants win their case in court (unnecessarily) and purchase ad space, and the savages claim the “free speech” right to deface property to shut down free speech. And much of the intelligentsia — and the media which is sustained by the First Amendment — seems ignorant about what is at stake or takes the side of the savages.

Eltahawy writing in the Guardian: “As a US citizen, I cherish the first amendment.”

    She was referring to the First Amendment, leftist version: Free Speech for Me — But Not for Thee (to borrow from Hentoff’s book title).

    Force and violence run throughout Islam’s 1400 history, right up to this very day, It runs deep in this Eltahawy character.

VetHusbandFather | September 26, 2012 at 12:01 pm

“I’m expressing myself freely,” and then “this is what happens to nonviolent protesters in America in 2012…she got in my way!”

This is what is wrong with protestors today. They believe that because they are “expressing themselves” they can commit any crime they wish. First, let’s be clear that committing a crime is not protected as freedom of speech. If you feel that the particular law violates your freedom of speech (e.g. laws against vandalism) then you can take your case to the courts (after your arrest) where you will be promptly laughed at and asked to serve your sentance. Secondly, yes in our history, people have broken unjust laws in order to protest them (e.g. segregation laws). I really, hope that you are not vandalising advertisements in order to protest laws against vandalism (that would make you a new kind of stupid). So I’m not really sure what you could be protesting other than someone elses right to free speech (which would be irony at its finest). But I would also like to point out that in the past, when people did protest unjust laws (e.g. civil rights movement). They did so with the full expectation of being arrested, and they usually did not resist or whine about their arrest. They had no expectations that their crimes would go unpunished, and they committed these crimes as a way to draw attention to their plight, and they did so in a truthfully non-violent way. You ma’am with your screaming and whining are a disgrace to those people, you are not fighting for liberty you are fighting for anarchy.

I presume that anyone getting American citizenship has to pledge allegiance to the State and the Constitution, so how does that jibe with a Muslim’s overriding allegiance to Islam?
Obviously she has a Progressive’s understanding of the First Amendment.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Vascaino. | September 26, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Taqqiyah. Muslims do not believe in or respect “man-made” laws. Notice how Obama just ignores the Constitution? For them, the Koran is the only source of law. Since the Koran says nothing about the First Amendment or the Constitution, none of that counts. Since the Koran says kill Jews and Christians, that counts and that’s what they do.

Another perspective on savagery:

Eltahawy continued: “Five or six surrounded me, groped and prodded my breasts, grabbed my genital area and I lost count of how many hands tried to get into my trousers. Yes, sexual assault. I’m so used to saying harassment but [they] assaulted me.”

I know what you’re thinking. It must have been TEA Party types, right?

Aye carumba!

Just spent 20 minutes perusing her TWITter feed and her blog. That is one deranged and subversive Israel/Jew hating woman. Naturally — she and Islam are also perpetual professional victims in every way. She is obsessed with anti-radical-Islam/anti-jihadist’s Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. Probably because of the exceptionally effective work they do peeling away the layers of radical Islam and exposing them to the world for who — and what — they truly are. She gets Arabic language tweets from other tweeters with Arabic TWITter handles that read like some kind of coded message when run through a translator. Especially after the translated results are re-searched.

Mona Eltahawy is a very nasty piece of — work.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to FlatFoot. | September 26, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    There is no such thing as “radical Islam.” There is just Islam. Andrew McCarthy’s research for the trial of the Blind Sheik supports this. These guys are following the Koran, the source of the savagery and the problem.

      Midwest Rhino in reply to Juba Doobai!. | September 26, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      I’ve haven’t seen the video that undid all Obama’s righteous atonements (sarc), but the problem with respecting Islam’s prophet is that Muhammad called for the submission of all other religions, by force, as he himself supposedly demonstrated in conquering the “Holy Lands”. (except secular history has scant evidence he existed, unlike a real Jesus)

      The westernized sanitized version of Islam is fine I guess, but since deception of infidels is part of their book, (calling it a religion is itself rather deceptive), I’m not at all sure that the real motive behind westernized kinder gentler Islam is not to be a “Trojan horse”.

      In any case
      Radical Islam = Fundamentalist Islam = Islam

      Christians believe in a day of wrath, but till Jesus returns, man’s free will chooses to accept or not. And even good acting “unbelievers” get their “resurrection of the just”. (Not preaching, I left all that behind, but it is a big distinction)

      At least a lot of Islam openly believes in their 12th Imam coming in wrath any day, if not already. (the return of Jesus gathers Christians in the air first, to escape the wrath … so it is not the same scenario)

      If we want to know how much Islam respects Christianity, look at any Muslim dominant country.

One very sad thing about the articles discussing the incident: both referred to the ads being defaced as “anti-Islam” when the text of the ad only refers to ‘jihad’ as being savage.

This is sad for two reasons. First, the writers assume the Islam = Savagery because an anti-savagery ad is considered anti-Islam. This, even though we all know that Islam is the “Religion of Peace” /sarc.

Second, the writers are rounding in favor of the jihadists, trying to make them appear as the victim when the real victims are the innocents being slaughtered in their sleep.

Muslims believe they must do to you and you should neither retaliate nor respond because they are your betters.

It’s not about free speech here because Muslims don’t care about it or believe in it, except suppressing it. It’s about Islamic supremacism.

The NERVE of Pamela Gellar! How dare she call savages “savages”!

Were I anywhere near this case, I would be talking to the American Freedom Defense Initiative about filing charges against Ms. Eltahawy for Larceny (depriving a consumer of purchased goods or services under article 155.05(1) and the Definition of “Deprive” of the NY Penal code, which includes destruction of economic value).

Depending on the cost per advertisement, and how many Ms. Eltahawy is willing to admit to defacing, she could be facing a VERY long jail sentence with a Class D or Class E Felony conviction.

    Midwest Rhino in reply to Chuck Skinner. | September 26, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    it seems she also tweeted, leading the charge for others to destroy property. Being caught, she should pay for all. Allow her to reduce her sentence by bringing in the other vandals. And why is this not a hate crime?

The way to stop these people is to convict them for every applicable objective crime (property damage, etc.). Don’t even talk about “hate crime.” Reduce them to the ordinary criminal scum that they are, and throw the book at them for that.

Civil Rights protestors were civilized and dignified; their “crimes,” breaking unjust laws; their cause, righteous. Convictions for these “crimes” was impossible without referencing their cause, making their persecutors look vicious and uncivilized.

Mona Elthaway & Co. are rancorous vandals; their crimes are against civilization; their cause is morally indefensible. Conviction for their crimes, with no mention of their “cause,” will show them (and the cause they serve) to be vicious and uncivilized.

She damaged transit authority property, not the poster. Those posters go behind a plexiglass and metal channel frame attached to the wall and that is what took the spray paint damage. Along with criminal mischief, making graffiti, and possession of a graffiti instrument, charges for destruction/damage to public property ought to be laid, while the lady who got sprayed ought to file assault charges and sue Elthawy, given the evidence of a police officer as an eyewitness and this video.

As for new citizen Elthawy, welcome to America – and its judicial system, dumbass.

Perhaps someone should spray paint Mona the spraypainter.
With a blowtorch.
Just thinking out loud, here…

Notwithstanding the social and political incorrectness of my ‘modest proposal’, one hopes that she is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Welcome to America, sport! Enjoy our municipal judicial and jail system.

Egyptian Muslim woman? a few thoughts?

1) Where’s the Burkina or Hijab??

2) Will this Muslim be charged with Assault?? prior spray paint deemed 2 cause bodily harm…

3) Will this Muslim be DEPORTED??

NY1, the New York news channel did an entire show on AFDI’s counter jihad subway ads. This is worth the time.

So Mona declares Jihad on a poster and can’t understand why people are calling her a freaking moron.

BannedbytheGuardian | September 26, 2012 at 8:56 pm

It could be worse folks. She could open a show on broadway & make noises out of her mutilated genitals.

Or is that pic her head?

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She also assaulted the woman who wanted to block her from spay-painting, mind you.
I find it curious that she sells herself as some sort of a women’s rights person, and yet she rejects the basic assumptions of the civilization that gave women opportunities.

what a pathetic lunatic.

If she want to “express herself”, then go buy some ad space for a billboard and have that put up at the MTA with her views. She isn’t nonviolent, in fact she is violent and a loon! so of course she goes on CNN and MSDNC, only natural

[…] unlike Egyptian born Mona Eltahawy who decided to silence the free speech of others by claiming her right to free speech allowed her […]