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Woman arrested for defacing 'anti-jihad' ad in Times Square station

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 26th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Reportedly angry with subway ads equating enemies of Israel as "savages," 45-year-old Mona Eltahawy spray-painted over one of the controversial signs and was promptly arrested. Reporters from the New York Post were on the scene and caught a classic exchange on the meaning of freedom of expression in a Democratic society.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Mona, do you think you have the right to do this?" Pamela Hall said, holding a mounted camera as she tried to block the barrage of spray paint.

"I do actually," Eltahawy calmly responded. "I think this is freedom of expression, just as this is freedom of expression." Hall then positions herself between Eltahawy's spray paint and the poster.

Eltahawy is an activist who has appeared frequently in the media engaged Hall in an odd dance.

"What right do you have to violate free speech," Hall pleaded.

"I'm not violating it. I'm making an expression on free speech," Eltahawy replies.

"You do not have the right!" Hall said.

"I do actually and I'm doing it right now and you should get out of the way! Do you want paint on yourself?"

Eltahawy mocked Hall as she tried to defend the advertisement: "That's right, defend racism."

An MTA police officer and an NYPD cop finally arrived at the scene and arrested Eltahawy.

"This is non-violent protest, see this America!" she said as cops cuffed her. "I'm an Egyptian-American and I refuse hate."

Ordered to install the controversial ad campaign by court order, the 46- by 30-inch ads are plastered in 10 Manhattan stations, including busy Grand Central and Times Square Stations.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative, a pro-Israel group spearheaded by activist Pamela Geller, paid $6,000 for the ad space.

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