The Topless Tunisian: Rumours Surrounding Amina
Amina is a Tunisian woman who joined sextremist group Femen and bared her breasts to the world. The rumours that have circulated around her since have led to 85,000 calls of support, a day dedicated to her protection and a refocusing of the debate on women’s rights post-Arab Spring.
First Amina was kidnapped, transported to a facility and covered up for ‘her own good’. Then the press was told rumours were wrong – she was safe and in hiding with her family. In any case, Amina – who had been so exposed – was suddenly behind a veil of mystery.
Amina posted pictures of herself topless on Facebook.
She had been in contact with FEMEN, in the hope of setting up an arm of the organisation in the North African country, and posted the pictures to the group’s Facebook account. In one image, she was shown with ‘Fuck you Morals’ across her torso, in another, ‘My body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour’.
Her actions caused such a stir, that she soon appeared on Tunisian TV to defend her actions. The Facebook page she posted pictures to was hacked, and days after Amina disappeared.
Commentators said her disappearance was in reaction to Islamic preacher Adel Almi, Head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, who said of Amina:
‘the young lady should be punished… with 80 to 100 lashes, but because of the gravity of the act she should be stoned to death’.
He added that Amina’s acts ‘could be contagious and give some ideas to other women. She should be isolated.’ According to solicitors, legally Amina could face six to 24 months in prison and anywhere between 100 and 1000 dinars in fines.
On the 4th April, a day to defend Amina has been called. Maryam Namazie is a campaigner and blogger. She is the Spokesperson for Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain and the Council of Ex-Muslims in Britain. She has been integral to the International Day to defend #Amina.
She gives her views on why the 4th April is so important, and how Islam and nudity are at odds:
“All religions have a disturbing view of the female body.
Islam is no different. The perfect woman under Islam is invisible- not seen and not heard. Islam is only worse in many ways because of its access to political power via the far-Right Islamic movement. The law and state often have a hand in imposing this debased view of women. Under Sharia, a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s, a woman can be stoned to death for adultery and women cannot even travel without the permission of a male guardian…
Islam is obsessed with women’s bodies and its insistence that women be veiled, bound, and gagged. Nudity breaks taboos and is an important form of resistance.
Nudity is incompatible with all religions. Women in North Africa and the Middle East will be more free the more Islam is relegated to a private affair and Islamism is pushed back from the public space. Actions like those of Amina help to break taboos and challenge Islamism at its very core”.
On 4 April we aim to breast them! We want to unequivocally stand with and defend Amina, call for the prosecution of those who have threatened and detained her and remind Islamists and the world that the real epidemic and disaster that must be challenged is misogyny – Islamic or otherwise.
Many have already joined in; large numbers of topless photos have been posted in her defence, the petition has already gained 100,000 signatures, and groups and individuals are organising for 4 April.
In many Amina represents us all. Onwards to April 4.