Scores of scantily clad women grabbed attention at mosques and Tunisian embassies all over Europe on Thursday by participating in “Topless Jihad” rallies to protest what they say is an Islamist crackdown on Arab women’s rights.
AFP reported the Ukrainian women’s power group Femen staged the rallies in several European capitals, including Paris, Berlin, and Kiev, to spotlight the case of Tunisian activist Amina Tyler. Tyler caused controversy last month when she posted online photos of herself with the words “My body belongs to me” and “F--- your morals” emblazoned across her naked breasts (though she fully spelled out the operative verb).
Now her supporters fear she may be criminally prosecuted for her act.
Police in Kiev immediately detained two young female activists who wrote “Free Amina” on their chests when they arrived at a local mosque. An AFP photographer witnessed police deterring some two dozen bare-breasted feminists tagged with “No Islamists” messages in Paris as they approached the Tunisian embassy there.
"We're free, we're naked, it's our right, it's our body it's our rules, and nobody can use religion and some other holy things to abuse women, to oppress them," Femen member Alexandra Shevchenko told AFP at a small protest at a Berlin mosque.
The Femen group has made headlines in recent years for feminist, pro-democracy and anti-corruption protests.
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reports that Friday a group of Muslim women launched a counter campaign –“ Muslimah Pride Day”-- on some social media sites, in response to the demonstrations. The women have posted photos of themselves with various messages to Femen like “Nudity does not liberate me."