Free Amina, Free Tunisia: It is the same cry

600286_500584530000840_728079130_nWriter and filmmaker Caroline Fourest, one of the signatories calling for an International Day to Defend Amina has written about Amina in French here.

Even with the not very fluent google translation into English, what is clear from her article is that Amina’s detention within her family – with the assistance of the police – does not equate safety.

Caroline calls on the activists attending the World Social Forum in Tunisia right now to shout with us “Free Amina, Free Tunisia!” Because it is the same cry.

Indeed it is…

Only you are to blame

734128_500427196691818_1634755817_nIslamists who are supporters or part of the Morsi government have said that women are to blame for the increasing rape and sexual assault in Egypt.This despite the fact that there is clear evidence that much of it is state-sponsored and that a large number of those assaulted are veiled women.

“How do they ask the Ministry of Interior to protect a woman when she stands among men?” Reda Saleh Al al-Hefnawi, a lawmaker from the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party, asked at a parliamentary meeting on the issue.

“Sometimes,” said police general Adel Abdel Maqsoud Afifi, “a girl contributes 100 percent to her own raping when she puts herself in these conditions.”

Television preacher, Ahmed Abdullah, known as Sheik Abu Islam said “You see those women speaking like ogres, without shame, politeness, fear or even femininity”. Such a woman is “like a demon,” he said, wondering why anyone should sympathize with those “naked” women who “went there to get raped.”

And this is the main issue at hand; Islam hates disobedient women – veiled or unveiled – topless or not. And will blame them for any and every calamity and disaster.

Listen up Islamists: You and your lackeys can blame women all you want but we all know that only you are to blame. Now can you please fuck off to the Middle Ages and leave the 21st century for us?

(News via Mohsen Ebrahimi)

I hope you are up for it

D wrote to me asking about my views on the UK Islamic Mission:

In Leeds they are setting up a centre in Moortown. The English Defence League is trying to exploit tensions about this by having a demo. I read a post from I think your forum saying that the UKIM is linked to Jamaat-e-Islami but looking at their website they seem to be just an evangelical group like the Mormans or Jehovah’s witnesses. Peddling an outdated and misogynist world view but basically within the remit of religion rather than politically linked to Jamaat. As a secular lefty I organised people to turn out against the EDL in Leeds and Bradford but this obviously is slightly more complicated because I don’t want to gloss other genuine concerns about UKIM but neither do I want to overact and take a position of neither EDL or UKIM.

I asked Gita Sahgal of Centre for Secular Space and an authority on Jamaat-e-Islami to respond. She wrote:

Please see this old Islamic Right Key Tendencies on UK Islamic Mission. The briefing is a few years old, but will be useful in determining which groups are Islamist. According to our information which was very thoroughly researched, the UK Islamic Mission is a part of the Jamaat e Islami. Fudamentalist organisations have numerous front organisations for different purposes including proselytising, collecting money for charity and so on. They all pursue the same political agenda even if it isn’t obvious.

I think it is high time that a NO to All Fascism front was established and I think it would be great to say no to EDL and to the UK IM.

D wrote back saying:

I am slightly wary of the Oppose both Fascisms stance. The EDL are proposing to go into an area with historically a high Jewish population and shout racist slogans and threaten and scare residents. If they could they would beat up Jewish and Asian people there and seek to whip up violence against the Asian community and would make no differentiation between Hizb-ut-Tahir and secular Muslims or non-Muslims who look Asian. Meanwhile the UKIM whilst having the links with Fascists in the Subcontinent and sharing their reactionary world view are obviously not threatening people on the street or anything like that. I think the main purpose of any demo would have to be against the EDL but the literature we put out should criticise UKIM but argue for the best way to oppose them is to support Muslim people and people of a Muslim background who are politically engaged against the Islamic right (like yourselves but also LGBT Muslims and some Liberal religious groups).

And here is Gita’s must read response:

Thank you for your letter on the ‘Opposing Both Fascisms’ stance. I understand that taking this stance involves a huge change in mindset and therefore it is difficult to take. It stems from seeing Muslims as powerless, ‘other’ and therefore needing support from the left, because they have no other support. It also treats ‘Muslims’ as an undifferentiated category.

If any of your assumptions were accurate, it might be possible to argue that the EDL poses the greater threat, but unfortunately not a single one of your statements is correct.
• As our material shows, the Jamaat e Islami is a global transnational movement which has organised in Britain and in many other countries. It is MUCH more powerful than the EDL and arguably as threatening on the street. Its threat is not expressed in the same ways and remains invisible to white leftists who are not affected by it. [Read more…]

Amina must be back at school next week!

Nadia ElfaniAmina is reportedly being detained by family members who found her with the assistance of the police! She is stressed and has no freedom of movement or communication.

Rather than arresting the Islamist who threatened Amina with death by stoning and flogging, the police have assisted her family in detaining her against her will.

Amina has done nothing wrong and must be released immediately.

She is meant to be back at school next week; she must be there. And she must be safe and unharmed.

On 4 April, International Day to Defend Amina, we will remind the Tunisian government, the police, the Islamists and those in her family detaining her against her will that Amina’s protest against misogyny is ours.

She represents us all.

(Via Caroline Fourest) Photo is of Tunisian Filmmaker Nadia El-Fani.

A Chicago School’s charge of Islamophobia


A reader wrote to the school and received the following response from the principal:

Please check your sources related to the news article stating I decided to remove Persepolis from my school. That is completely untrue and slanderous.

I only reported to my staff that I was informed the district was contemplating removing the book from CPS high schools. The day after I informed my staff, the district clarified their position and stated that no books were going to be removed from any high schools and it was a misunderstanding. That afternoon (after school) students held a rally in support of the book. I never ordered the removal of the book and not one book was ever removed from my school.

The article you read is stating I did something I would never do. I also understand your passion behind the topic but please check several news sources or simply google the topic if you are not sure about me. Something got twisted in the story you read because that is not what happened.

Christopher A. Dignam, Ed. D., Principal, Lane Tech College Prep High School, 2501 West Addison, Chicago, Illinois

Thanks to Piotr for clarifying this and good to know that Persepolis was not banned.



It has been reported that a Chicago public school has banned Marjane Satrapi’s brilliant autobiographical book Persepolis (about her life as a girl growing up under the Islamic regime of Iran) after deeming it Islamophobic; this ban follows in the “proud” footsteps of Iran, UAE and Lebanon.

The charge of Islamophobia has always been a very useful political tool in the hands of those in power to scaremonger people into silence and ban criticism of Islam and political Islam. As I have mentioned before, it aids and abets Islamists in silencing dissent as a sort of “secular” fatwa.

This culturally relativist perspective will do anything to silence dissent – even to the extent of banning books. It is like the perspective that is opposed to the likes of Amina and Aliaa out of “respect” for people’s culture.

But there is no one homogeneous culture. Defending a ban of Persepolis is defending Islamism’s culture at the expense of the many dissenters. Just as opposing Amina’s topless act of defiance in the face of Islamist threats is a defence of Islamism’s culture and all that it brings with it.

The ban in Chicago makes it very clear that Amina’s protest and demand to be free from religious misogyny is as relevant in Chicago as it is to societies in the Middle East and North Africa…

Onwards to 4 April, International Day to Defend Amina.

Don’t stop fighting for Amina

logoAMinaThere have been reports in the media that “Amina’s lawyer” has said she is safe at home.

If she is so safe, why is she no longer able to speak to anyone or be in contact with others? And is this Amina’s lawyer or her family’s? Clearly, it’s the family’s!

According to FEMEN’s (edited) statement:

The latest news about Amina has been shared by a woman calling herself Amina’s lawyer. The woman says that she has met Amina and that Amina is with her family.

This information is one of those rumours shared by strangers who have never been in contact with us before.
Amina’s telephone is still off. Someone else replies to Amina’s Skype; when we asked to speak via video, all contact was stopped.

From our point of view, the lawyer is representing the interests of the family and not Amina’s. By saying she is safe, they aim to stop the vast public mobilisation in her defence. Even if Amina was detained by her family, there would be no reason to speak of safety.

We have still not heard Amina’s voice nor seen her face. Until we do, we will continue to search for her and call for her defence!

Jenya Kraizman from Femen Ukraine

Onwards towards 4 April: International Day to Defend Amina!


Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco: the first public atheist organisation in country with state religion of Islam

Click “like” on the new organisation’s Facebook page to support them!

See English, Arabic and French Statement below:

Morocco’s state religion is Islam. Whilst Article 3 of the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, atheists and unbelievers are not recognised. Though apostasy is not a prosecutable offence in the Penal Code, “incitements in order to shake the faith of a Muslim” are. Apostates and atheists face harassment, threats or imprisonment if they speak out.

In order to break the taboo that comes with renouncing Islam and take a stand for atheism, reason, universal rights and secularism, we call on all non believers, atheists and ex-Muslims to come forward to establish the Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco, the first public atheist and non-religious organisation in a country with Islam as its state religion. [Read more…]

Let’s Breast Them

makFdSHgjmUPDATED 3 April 2013 (More photos and actions below)

Demonstrations and actions are now being held in Brussels, Rio, Montreal, Vancouver, Paris, Berlin, Bremen, Bonn, Frankfurt, Malmo, Gotenburg, Stockholm, Milan, Kiev, London, San Francisco, Warsaw and more. See below for more details.

The 19 year old Tunisian Amina who posted a topless photo of herself with the slogan “my body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour” has disappeared. Most likely her family have kidnapped her and taken her to an unknown location, (earlier reports mentioned a psychiatric hospital). What’s clear is that they have removed all forms of communication from her so that she can no longer be reached.

Filmmaker Caroline Fourest says:

One of the people who kidnapped Amina has been boasting that they did it for “her own good”. It is unclear though whether she has been hospitalised  or held somewhere else. Her phone has been taken from her and communication with her has stopped so  we are no longer in contact with her.

amina14We anxiously await news about her safety and situation and warn those who are holding her not to hurt her and to release her immediately.

Recently, someone posing as “Amina’s lawyer” has said she is safe and at home. The lawyer seems to be representing the family’s interests rather than Amina’s in order to stop the public mobilisation in her defence. There has been no contact whatsoever with Amina so we need to keep fighting for her! Read FEMEN’s statement here.

Clearly, there is nothing wrong with Amina; it is society, the lack of women’s rights, the second class citizenship of women, the debased view of women’s bodies, the vile concept of honour and religious morality,  misogyny and Islamism and its Sharia law that are wrong.

In fact Amina’s is the voice of sanity, reason, protest and resistance. [Read more…]

Iran: another worker arrested as persecution of labour activists intensifies

iran-two-more-labour-activists-floggedFollowing the recent arrest of six labour activists in the city of Sanandaj in the west of Iran, another worker by the name of Ghaleb Hosseini (pictured on right), a member of the Co-ordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organisations, was arrested on 19 March. The activists arrested earlier in the month are Vafa Ghaderi, Seyed Khaled Hosseini, Ali Azadi, Behzad Farajollahi, Hamed Mahmoud Nejad and Sharif Saed Panah.

The first five activists are also members of the Co-ordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organisations, and were arrested on 7 March. Sharif Saed Panah is an executive member of the Free Union of Iranian Workers and an organiser of the 30,000-signature pay-rise campaign. He was arrested on 10 March. All these activists are being held purely for their union activities, and must be released immediately and unconditionally. [Read more…]

Fear for the life of jailed Iranian labour activist Mohammad Jarahi

mohammad jarahiThere are growing fears for the life of imprisoned labour activist Mohammad Jarahi, who is now known to be suffering from thyroid cancer. Jarahi, who is a member of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers’ Organisations, was arrested last June and sentenced to five years in prison. He is now in the second year of his sentence.

Jarahi underwent surgery on 16th February this year. However, the results of the tests following the operation show that he has thyroid cancer. According to his doctors, Jarahi should begin his treatment as soon as possible. Despite the efforts of his family for him to be referred for immediate medical treatment outside prison, Jarahi continues to be jailed.

* * *

Mohammad Jarahi is in prison purely for his union activities. He should not be in jail, and should be able to receive urgent medical care and treatment outside prison.

Free Them Now! calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Mohammad Jarahi.

آمنه صداي ماست


آمنه دختر 19 ساله تونسی که عکس برهنه خود را روی سایتها گذاشته بود٬  اکنون در خطر مرگ قرار دارد. در این عکس آمنه روی بالا تنه برهنه خود نوشته “بدن من متعلق به خودم است و ناموس هيچ کسی نیست”.

آخوند عادل عالمی رئيس يک سازمان اسلامي ٬ خواهان شلاق زدن و سنگسار آمنه شده و گفته اقدام آمنه موجب بدبختی میشود و “فاجعه و اپیدمی به بار می آورد و می تواند واگیر باشد و به زنان دیگر هم سرایت کند”!

ما امضا کنندگان زیر به صراحت از آمنه دفاع کرده و خواهان آنیم که زندگی و آزادی این زن جوان مورد حمایت قرار گرفته و کسانیکه او را تهدید کرده اند فورا مجازات شوند.

ما تاریخ 4 ما آوریل 2013  را روز جهانی دفاع از آمنه  اعلام ميکنيم!  

در این روز و بعد از آن افراد و گروههای مختلف می توانند با انتشار عکسهای برهنه و فعالیتهایشان روی سایتها و مدیای اجتماعی از او دفاع کنند. می توان طومار را امضا کرد و یا روی تویتر با نوشتن اسم امنه و تویت کردن آن او را معرفی کرد، می توان در دفاع از او نامه نوشت و غیره. در روز 4 آوریل ما به جریانات اسلامی و همه دنیا یادآوری می کنیم که اپیدمی و فاجعه واقعی که باید ریشه کن شود زن ستیزی چه از نوع اسلامی و یا غیر آن است.

امضا کنندگان

علیا  ماجده المهدی، انقلابی مصری که عکسهای برهنه خود را روی سایتها گذاشت!

آلینا ایزابل  پرز، فیلمساز

[Read more…]

Release Amina Now

aminaUPDATE 23/03/2013

One of the people who kidnapped Amina has been boasting that they did it for “her own good”. It is unclear though whether she has been hospitalised  or held somewhere else. Her phone has been taken from her and communication with her has been stopped so  we do not receive any information from her. (Via Caroline Fourest)


There are reports that 19 year old Amina who posted nude photos of herself for FEMEN Tunisia has been seized by her family and possibly the civil police (see video) and been hospitalised in a psychiatric hospital.

The only madness here is that she has been detained rather than those who have threatened her with stoning to death and are now denying her freedom.

She must be released immediately and unconditionally.

As she said,  “my body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour”.

Hands off Amina Now!

4 April is the international day to defend Amina.

We will stand with her on that day and every day. She represents all of us.

World Social Forum being held in Tunis during 23-28 March 2013 take note: we expect you to take firm action in Amina’s defence.

(via Caroline Fourest)


Right to heal

white-house-event-image-390x242It’s the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. To mark this anniversary, Iraqis and U.S. military veterans have come together to hold the U.S. government accountable for the lasting effects of war and the rights of veterans and civilians to heal.

The Iraq war is not over for Iraqi civilians and U.S. veterans who continue to struggle with various forms of trauma and injury; the effect of environmental poisoning due to certain U.S. munitions and burn pits of hazardous material; and with a generation of orphans and displaced.

As Iraqi civil society tries to rebuild from the Iraq war as well as a decade of U.S. bombing and sanctions, they face political repression by a corrupt U.S.-established government that is selling off the country’s natural resources to foreign interests. The U.S continues this pattern of violations with its ongoing war in Afghanistan. The United States must be held accountable for its violations of the rights to life and health of these war-torn peoples.

Find out more about this initiative: the right to heal.

The other Amina

On Saturday, Moroccans came out to demand reform of the rape law  and express outrage after 16 year old Amina Filali killed herself following marriage with her rapist – allowing him to stay out of jail and “preserving family honour”.

She ingested rat poison after her “husband” had severely beaten her. When will this barbarity end?

And they still have the nerve to ask how it is possible to live a “moral” life without religion.

Fuck your honour and your morals.



4 April 2013: International Day to Defend Amina; she represents us



4 April 2013: Today is our day to defend our Amina

3 April 2013: For Amina: My body against political Islam. No Sharia.

3 April 2013: On 4 April, we will breast them!

2 April 2013: Why an International Day to Defend Amina?

2 April 2013: I have no regrets

28 March 2013: Free Amina, Free Tunisia: It is the same cry

27 March 2013: Amina must be back at school next week

25 March 2013: Don’t stop fighting for Amina!

23 March 2013:Let’s Breast Them

Farsi translation of letter: آمنه صداي ماست

22 March 2013: Release Amina Now!

21 March 2013: FEMEN Tunisia’s Facebook page hacked

19 March 2013: Amina represents me


19 year old Tunisian Amina who posted a topless photo of herself bearing the slogan “my body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour” has been threatened with death.

Islamist cleric Adel Almi, president of Al-Jamia Al-Li-Wassatia Tawia Wal-Islah, has called for Amina’s flogging and stoning to death saying Amina’s actions will bring misfortune by causing “epidemics and disasters” and “could be contagious and give ideas to other women…”

We, the undersigned, unequivocally defend Amina, and demand that her life and liberty be protected and that those who have threatened her be immediately prosecuted.

On 4 April 2013, we call for an International Day to Defend Amina.

Amina represents us all.

On the day and beyond, groups and individuals can join in by highlighting her case, posting topless photos of themselves and their activism on social media sites, signing a petition, Tweeting #Amina, writing letters in her defence, and more.

On 4 April, we will remind the Islamists and the world that the real epidemic and disaster that must be challenged is misogyny – Islamic or otherwise.


Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, Egyptian Nude Photo Revolutionary
Alina Isabel Pérez, Filmmaker
Amanda Brown, We are Atheism Founder
Annie Sugier, President of Ligue du Droit International des Femmes
Arash T. Riahi, Film Director
Caroline Fourest, Writer and Journalist; most recent film: “Our Breasts; Our Arms
Darina Al-Joundi, Lebanese Actress and Author of “The Day Nina Simone Stopped Singing
Deeyah, Music Composer and Filmmaker; most recent film “Banaz: A Love Story” about an honour killing
Elia Tabesh, Iranian Women in Support of Nude Photo Revolutionary Calendar
Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran
Fariborz Pooya, Iranian Secular Society
Farzana Hassan, Writer
Fatou Sow, President of the Groupe de recherche sur les femmes et les lois au Sénégal
Fiammetta Venner, Filmmaker and Writer
Greta Christina, Writer and Blogger
Houzan Mahmoud, Spokesperson of Organisation for Women’s Freedom in Iraq
Inna Shevchenko, FEMEN Spokesperson
International Committee against Execution
International Committee against Stoning
Jacek Tabisz, President of Polish Rationalist Society
Joseph Paris, Radical Cinema
Kareem Amer, Egyptian Blogger
Kian Azar, Communist Youth Organisation
Marian Tudor, President of Romanian Association for Workers’ Emancipation
Marieme Helie Lucas, Algerian Sociologist and founder of Secularism is a Women’s Issue
Maryam Namazie, Campaigner and Spokesperson for Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran and initiator of Nude Photo Revolutionary Calendar
Mina Ahadi, Spokesperson of International Committee against Stoning  and International Committee against Execution
Nadia El-Fani, Tunisian Filmmaker; most recent films “Neither Allah nor Master” and “Our Breasts; Our Arms
Nahla Mahmoud, Sudanese Researcher and Human Rights Activist
Nina Sankari, President of European Feminist Initiative Poland and Secularist
Richard Dawkins, Scientist
Rumy Hassan, Writer
Safia Lebdi, Co-founder of Neither Whores nor Submissives
Secularism is a Women’s Issue
Soad Baba Aïssa, Women’s Rights Campaigner
Sohaila Sharifi, Iranian Women’s Rights Campaigner
Sundas Hoorain, Pakistani Human Rights Lawyer
Tarek Fatah, Writer
Taslima Nasrin, Bangladeshi Writer

For more information on the International Day to Defend Amina, contact:

Maryam Namazie
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731

Inna Shevchenko
tel: +33605857180

Horror in Paradise

Here is a must sign Avaaz petition on the Maldives:

4633_maldives2_1_460x230A 15-year-old rape survivor has been sentenced to be whipped 100 times in public! Let’s put an end to this lunacy by hitting the Maldives government where it hurts: the tourism industry.

The girl’s stepfather is accused of raping her for years and murdering the baby she bore. Now the court says she must be flogged for “sex outside marriage”!  President Waheed of the Maldives is already feeling global pressure on this, and we can force him to save this girl and change the law to spare other victims this cruel fate. This is how we can end the War on Women – by standing up every time an outrage like this happens.

Tourism is the big earner for the Maldives elite, including government ministers. Let’s build a million-strong petition to President Waheed this week, then threaten the islands’ reputation through hard-hitting ads in travel magazines and online until he steps in to save her and abolish this outrageous law. Sign now and share this with everyone to get us to a million!

FEMEN Tunisia’s Facebook Page Hacked

FEMEN TUNISIA Islamist hackers have taken control of FEMEN-Tunisia’s Facebook fanpage. This follows a death threat against 19 year old Amina who posted topless photos of herself.

The hackers say: “Thanks to God we have hacked this immoral page and the best is to come” and add: “The page has been hacked and if God willing, these dirt will disappear of Tunisia”.

Clearly, what must disappear back to the Middle Ages is Islamism.

4 April 2013 will be the International of Action to Defend Amina and us…

More information will be posted later today.

Until then, and always, Amina represents me.

Happy Nowruz!

It’s Nowruz today.

Nowruz marks the first day of spring and is celebrated amongst Iranians, Afghans, Kurds and others.

Below is my take on the Nowruz table, which needs to have 7 things beginning with S (Haft Sin). Mine is basically made up of anything I could get my hands on. There’s a wooden fish rather than goldfish and a flytrap plant my son got at a birthday party rather than Sabzi (ours is looking too pathetic to photograph).

By the way, Nowruz is a celebration that predates Islam and there has been a constant battle between the public and the regime with regards celebrating it. The regime even once tried to ban it but no one bothered to listen. The last Wednesday of the year – Chaharshanbeh Suri – which was last night and is a fire festival is also a source of great  displeasure making these celebrations all the more important and fun!

Happy New Year!

And as all Iranians say (well the sane ones at least): may this be the first year without the Islamic regime in Iran!



Amina represents me

amina An Islamist preacher says 19 year old Tunisian Amina (FEMEN Tunisia) who posted a topless photo of herself bearing the slogan “my body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour” deserves to be stoned to death. A lawyer has said she may face up to 2 years’ imprisonment and fines as a result of her topless activism.

Someone identifying herself as Amina’s aunt denounced Amina’s actions on Youtube saying: “I hope she pays for her actions. She does not represent her country or Tunisian women.”

Well, Amina represents me and countless other women across the Middle East, North Africa, and the world.

Adel Almi, president of Al-Jamia Al-Li-Wassatia Tawia Wal-Islah, who called for Amina’s flogging and stoning to death said Amina’s actions will bring misfortune by causing “epidemics and disasters” and “could be contagious and give ideas to other women…”

Of course it has and will just as those of FEMEN or Aliaa Magda El-Mahdy.

I suggest we pick a date for a global day of topless action led by FEMEN to show him and his Islamist brethren what a “disaster” women are for misogyny – Islamic or otherwise.