© Observer
Eltahawy said she was held for 22 hours, longer that her detention in Egypt during the Arab Spring
Prominent Egyptian-American writer and activist Mona Eltahawy has been released from police custody after being arrested in New York on Tuesday for spray painting a subway poster that equates Muslims with "savages".

Eltahawy was charged with criminal mischief after she painted over a poster that read: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man" and "Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."

The anti-Muslim American Freedom Defense Initiative paid for the posters that are in 10 New York subway stations. A US court ruled the statements are "political" and protected by the first amendment's guarantee for free speech.

Journalist Robin Morgan and Eltahawy tweeted information on the progress of her arrest throughout the night and Wednesday morning as she waited to appear before a judge.

Earlier Tuesday, Eltahawy said she was planning to spray paint the signs and expressed no regret following her release:

Mona tweeter

Eltahawy said two hours after her arrest, four other people were jailed for putting stickers on the same posters and were released that night. She also claimed to have seen a man rip part of one of the posters at another New York station, who said: "This is fucking New York City!"

On Twitter, Eltahawy said that she was held for 22 hours, longer that her detention in Egypt during the Arab Spring, where she was arrested and suffered two broken arms after being assaulted by riot police.

In a video posted online by the New York Post, a poster supporter tries to prevent Eltahawy from using the pink spray paint. They argue before two police officers appear and arrest Eltahawy. As Eltahawy is escorted out of the station by police, she says: "This is what happens in America when you non-violently protest."

New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority originally ruled that the posters were demeaning and would not be permitted in the city's subways, but allowed them after the anti-Muslim group took the agency to court.

The posters have been widely condemned and Jewish figures have spoken out against them. Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster wrote on CNN: "As a rabbi, I find the ads deeply misguided and disturbing ... The words from our mouths have power: once released, whether intentionally or by accident, what we say shapes reality. It can bring about healing or atonement, or it can unleash violence and hatred. Geller's ads, sharply dividing the world into civilized people and savages, are only intended to hurt and tear fragile relationships apart."

Eltahawy is set to return to court 29 November to face misdemeanor charges for the act.