Today is our day to defend our Amina

aminaUpdated 5 April, 22:00 hours

April 4 was our day to defend our Amina. The 19 year old Tunisian FEMEN activist whose only “crime” was to post a topless photo of herself saying: “my body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour” and “fuck your morals”.

Whilst she has done nothing wrong, she has been effectively detained incommunicado by her family with the help of the police, and the latest reports say she has been drugged and beaten.

Amina says though that she has no regrets.

Our beloved Amina, this day is for you…

Some of the actions taken and statements made in support of Amina have been posted below.

  • On 4 April, there were actions in Berlin, Bonn, Bremen, Brussels, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Kiev, London, Malmo, Milan, Montreal, Paris, Rio De Janeiro, San Francisco, Stockholm, Vancouver, Warsaw and more to mark 4 April, the International Day to Defend Amina. You can see reports and photos from various events here as well as below:
  • A committee made up of Mina Ahadi, Nesan Nodinian, Gaby Schmidt, Eduard Von and Ahmad Rahmani met with the head of the Tunisian Consulate in Bonn to raise the demands of the International Day to Defend Amina.
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  • Here are some photos from the Gothenburg protest: am1am2
  • Here is a television report and photos from Stockholm protest. Also another piece on Stockholm protest and here too. There are more photos on this siteCYO4th April13 Stockholm11CYO4th April13 Stockholm6 - Copy (1)CYO4th April13 Stockholm7 - CopyCYO4th April13 Stockholm6 - Copy
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  • Here is a photo of the protest in Vancouver:IMG_20130404_163003
  • Here are photos from Frankfurt protest: 524833_10200927159326606_1549681464_n543877_10200927163366707_130962972_n

[Read more…]

You just don’t get it!

A group of women have set up a Facebook page called Muslim women against FEMEN…. Muslimah Pride Day.

They just don’t get it (or obviously choose not to).

On a day that has been set aside to defend a 19 year old woman who has been threatened by an Islamist with death by stoning, detained, drugged and restricted from communicating with her friends and FEMEN all for merely for expressing herself, they choose to mark the day by calling on women to oppose FEMEN and to veil.

As I have said before, nudity is the antithesis of veiling. Also it is clear that you cannot defend women’s rights and defend Islam and Islamism at the same time. You have to choose. FEMEN and we have chosen to side with women’s rights and equality; they have chose to side with the veil, Islam and Islamism no matter what it does to those who do not submit.

Long Live Amina!

On 4 April, we will breast them!

A-Million_AminasOn 4th April, actions will be held in Berlin, Bonn, Bremen, Brussels, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Kiev, London, Malmo, Milan, Montreal, Paris, Rio De Janeiro, San Francisco, Stockholm, Vancouver, Warsaw and more to mark 4 April, the International Day to Defend Amina. (See actions listed below.)

These actions along with countless other activities including posting topless photos, writing letters of protest to the Tunisian government, and Tweeting #Amina will aim to stand with 19 year old Tunisian and FEMEN activist, Amina, who has been threatened to death for posting a topless photo of herself in support of women’s rights. Amina has since disappeared and is being held by her family against her will.

Many have already taken a stand in her defence. Over 106,000 people have signed a petition and a large number have posted topless photos in her defence.

In the last interview she gave before she was kidnapped, she said women in Tunisia are ready for change: “That women have reached the height of self-determination: we no longer obey any authority, neither family nor religious. We know what we want and we make our own decisions.”

This is the wonderful woman we stand up for and with on 4th April to call for her freedom and safety and demand the prosecution of those who threaten and detain her.

Islamist cleric Adel Almi called for Amina’s flogging and stoning to death because he said Amina’s revolutionary actions would bring misfortune by causing “epidemics and disasters” and “could be contagious and give ideas to other women…”

On 4 April 2013 – International Day to Defend Amina – we will remind him, the Islamists and the world that the real epidemic and disaster that must be challenged is misogyny – Islamic or otherwise.

On 4 April we will breast them! [Read more…]

Why an International Day to Defend Amina?

Capture d’écran 2013-03-25 à 22.46.08Below is a compilation of questions I have been responding to on 4 April for various journalists:

Why an International Day to Defend Amina?

When I heard that 19 year old Tunisian Amina had been threatened with death for posting a topless photo of herself bearing the slogan “my body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour”, I knew we had to act.

Within 24 hours, a number of well known individuals and groups joined in a call to mark 4 April as an International Day to Defend Amina – both to unequivocally defend her and demand her safety and freedom whilst also demanding the prosecution of the Islamist who threatened her. Whilst Amina had done nothing wrong, the police aided her family in detaining her against her will and stopping all forms of communication with her friends and FEMEN rather than prosecuting those who detained and threatened her. She is still being held against her will and did not turn up at school this Monday as she was meant to. In a rare interview with a journalist, she said she was stressed but had no regrets.

In the last interview she gave before she was effectively kidnapped, she said women in Tunisia are ready for change:

“That women have reached the height of self-determination: we no longer obey any authority, neither family nor religious. We know what we want and we make our own decisions.”

This is the wonderful woman we stand up for and with on 4 April.

Signatories to the call include: Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, Egyptian Nude Photo Revolutionary; 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; Inna Shevchenko, FEMEN Spokesperson; Kareem Amer, Egyptian Blogger; Kian Azar, Communist Youth Organisation; Marieme Helie Lucas, Algerian Sociologist and founder of Secularism is a Women’s Issue; 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”; Richard Dawkins, Scientist; Safia Lebdi, Co-founder of Neither Whores nor Submissives; and Taslima Nasrin, Bangladeshi Writer.

Are nudity and Islam completely incompatible? Do you see a time in which women in North Africa and the Middle East will be more free to show their bodies? How do you see what she did in a country like Tunisia?

All religions have a disturbing view of the female body. Islam is no different. The perfect woman under Islam is invisible. Islam is only worse in many ways because of its access to political power via the far-Right Islamic movement. Sharia law and Islamic states legislate and impose misogyny and perpetrate the debased view of women.

Women in North Africa and the Middle East will be freer the more Islam is relegated to a private affair and Islamism is pushed back from the public space. Actions like Amina’s help to challenge Islamism at its very core.

Islamism’s obsession with women’s bodies and its insistence that women be veiled, bound, and gagged means that nudity breaks taboos and is an important form of resistance.

Nudity is the antithesis of veiling. Of course it is not the only way to resist Islamism and the veil but it is a very modern way of doing so. Islamists want us covered up, hidden, and not seen and not heard; we refuse to comply.

But nudity is not just a protest against Islamism and religious misogyny. It is fundamentally a protest against discrimination, the commodification of women, and the religious and chauvinistic culture built upon it – which is why it is on the increase and has been a part of the women’s liberation movement for some time.

Commodification relies on an objectified image that is separate from the reality of women’s bodies, minds and lives. This image is used to regulate, control and suppress. And this is what religion and pornography share, albeit in different forms. The actuality and frankness of women’s bodies as a form of protest challenges and upsets both.

Nudity is deeply humanising and revolutionary because it challenges the religious/pornographic view of women’s bodies and reclaims a tool used for women’s suppression. Nudity outrages and offends because of this very challenge. [Read more…]

I have no regrets

Amina-Femen-Tunisia_470x30519 year old Tunisia Amina who bared her breasts against Islamism recently managed to tell a journalist that she has no regrets for her topless act.

Though she was meant to be back at school on Monday, she was not there and continues to be held by her family against her will and prevented from contacting friends and FEMEN.

In the last interview she gave before she was kidnapped, she says women in Tunisia are ready for change:

That women have reached the height of self-determination: we no longer obey any authority, neither family nor religious. We know what we want and we make our own decisions.

This is the wonderful woman we stand up for and with on 4 April, the International Day to Defend Amina.

Free Amina.

She represents me and us.

(News on Amina via Caroline Fourest).

(Photo by Cristina Mastrandrea. You can see more of her photos of Amina here.)

We have changed with the revolution and will not go backwards

34 year old Egyptian female cartoonist, Dooa Eladl who calls herself a Muslim anarchist is facing blasphemy charges for her political cartoons that poke fun of Islamists.

“The extremists don’t scare me,” she insists. “Whatever they do, I will continue to use my skills to poke fun at them. They must understand that we Egyptians have changed with the revolution, and we will not go backwards.”

Here are some of her brilliant cartoons:

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One against FGM: [Read more…]

Stop threats and murder of atheist bloggers in Bangladesh

The threats, intimidation and murder of atheists in Bangladesh continue, and now Islamists are demanding the state give them a hand with the killing.

Islamists are calling for the death penalty for atheist bloggers for supposedly blasphemous blogs or else face the prospect of Islamist groups descending on the capital, Dhaka. The state’s response? A shut down of blogs, the ordered deletion of posts and the establishment of an intelligence panel looking to censor future material deemed to have “defamed Islam and the Prophet Mohammed”. Meanwhile “progressives” defend the accused, not by demanding their freedom of conscience and expression, but by pretending they are not atheists at all.

Shame on the Bangladeshi government for siding with the far-right Islamists and shame on the “progressives” who apologise for the free thought of others.

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain stands in solidarity with atheists and rationalists who stand for reason, universal human rights and secularism and calls on the public to defend their freedom of expression and rights to life and security.

Hands off atheist bloggers now!

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Here’s a piece Taslima Nasrin did on the matter in February.

Here a piece I did about killing of atheist blogger Ahmed Rajib.

April 2013: Personal dignity is a foundation of human civilisation

April 2013 is here.

The photo for this month’s Nude Photo Revolutionary Calendar is mother with son Maja Wolna.

NPR_Apr13_uncensored

She says:

My participation in the Nude Photo Revolutionary Calendar is an act of the defence of the own body. Irrespective of the sex, the religion, the culture or customs we have the right to keep the personal freedom.

By the way, here is her censored photo for Facebook since it doesn’t allow nudity… [Read more…]