Egyptian-American activist Mona Eltahawy, detained for spray-painting over the controversial pro-Israel anti-Jihad ads which have been plastered across New York’s subway system, was released on Wednesday and will return to court on Nov. 29 to face charges of criminal mischief, she has announced on Twitter.
She said she was held in custody for 22 hours longer than her detention with Egypt’s interior ministry and military intelligence
“I return to court to face my charges - proudly - on Nov29,” she announced in one of her tweets.
She added that she “spray-painted that racist piece of s*** poster out of principle, protected speech & non-violent disobedience. Proud & absolutely no regrets!”
She also announced that four hours before her action a man at another NYC station “ripped off half of that racist piece of s*** poster saying ‘This is fucking New York City!’”
The New York County District Attorney's Office earlier told Al Arabiya English that Eltahawy “has not yet been arraigned” and that “once she has we will have more info.”
“No update on timing; all on background; possibly today, no data on specific timing,” a member of the communications office who refused to be named told Al Arabiya English.
Eltahawy appeared on Wednesday in a New York Post video and she was confronted by a woman, Pamela Hall, who was defending the ads and trying to block the activist from continuously spray-painting over an ad describing enemies of Israel as “savages.”
When asked by the woman if she had the right to do what she was doing, Eltahawy responded by saying her action is a freedom of expression just as the ad was.
Hall counteracted by telling Eltahawy that she was violating free speech to which Eltahawy responded by saying she was making an expression rather than a violation.
Eltahawy insisted on spray-painting despite Hall's standing in the way, when the activist said “That’s right, defend racism.”
“This is non-violent protest, see this America!” she said as cops cuffed her. “I’m an Egyptian-American and I refuse hate,” Eltahawy could be heard shouting as officers apprehended her, NYP reported.
The ad, which reads, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad,” has been mounted in 10 stations across Manhattan and cost $6,000.
It followed a disputed court order which resulted in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority implementing the ad campaign, created by the American Freedom Defense Initiative led by Pamela Geller.
Abdul Yasar, a New York subway rider who considers himself an observant Muslim, said Geller’s ad was insensitive in an unsettling climate for Muslims, especially following the YouTube video “Innocence of Muslims” which sparked protests in the Muslim world about the short film’s depiction of Muslims and the Prophet Mohammed.
Violence linked to the movie has left at least 30 people in seven countries dead, including the American ambassador to Libya.
Geller however wasn’t reportedly concerned that her ad would provoke a response of that magnitude.
Her group has also placed ads in Metro-North Railroad stations north of New York City that read: “It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.”