• Headlines
    • TAP: NCA Suspends Discussion of Anti-terrorism law, Work to Resume Early September

    Topless Tunisian Activist Safe At Home, Lawyer Says

    By Tristan Dreisbach | Mar 25 2013 Share on Linkedin Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Share on pinterest Print

    Tags: Amina , bochra bel haj hamdi , Femen , Nadia El Fani

    Amina, Meriam, Nadia el Fani, and the Femen Logo. Images courtesy of Facebook.

    Amina, the Tunisian activist who gained notoriety after uploading topless photos of herself to Facebook, is safe at home with her family, according to her lawyer Bouchra Bel Haj Hmida.

    She is not missing and “has never been in a psychiatric facility,” Bel Haj Hmida told Tunisia Live, contradicting reports that surfaced last week and have been widely circulated on the internet.

    Amina has been corresponding since February with members of Femen, a feminist group that originated in Ukraine and uses topless protest to fight for women’s rights.

    Bel Haj Hmida, who is also a well-known Tunisian women’s rights activist, told Tunisia Live that Amina is going back to school and said that she needs to be left in peace. She declined to provide further details of Amina’s situation due to lawyer-client confidentiality requirements.

    No legal charges have been filed against Amina, continued Ben Haj Hmida, adding she could be handed a maximum six-month sentence if convicted of public indecency. The Tunisian penal code’s provisions on such offenses are very subjective, she said.

    Amina’s actions, she added, have been misinterpreted and were not meant to have any sexual connotation.

    Online support has continued to grow for Amina’s cause. Over 80,000 people have signed a petition on the liberal website Change.org demanding that Amina’s “life and liberty are protected and that those who have threatened her be immediately prosecuted.” The petition is a response to the statements of Islamic conservative leader Adel Almi last week calling for her to received “80 to 100 lashes” and stating that she deserved to be stoned to death.

    Facebook pages supporting Amina have sprung up where women upload topless photos of themselves bearing slogans such as “Free Amina.”

    Tunisian filmmaker Nadia el Fani, director of the controversial film Neither God nor Master, has also joined the movement. She posted a picture of herself on her Facebook page with “freedom” written in Arabic on her forehead and “for Amina” written on her arm in French. She bares one breast painted with an Arabic word meaning “dignity.”

    Salma Bouzid contributed reporting

     

  • By Tristan Dreisbach  /  Editor
  • Tristan Dreisbach is Tunisia Live's former editor. He previously worked on peacebuilding and statebuilding issues at the NYU Center on International Cooperation. He writes on politics, economics, and culture. He speaks English and German, and is studying Arabic. Tristan received an MA in Politics from New York University and a BA from the University of Michigan.

    Topics

    People

    Place

    Organization

  • Femen
  • Related

    Comments

      Sara /

      So freedom is getting publicly naked? Asking for “women’s rights” !!
      This Femen group is but a bunch of ignorant,brain dead idiots who don’t even know what they talk about.
      They fight Islam and Hijab in the name of “women’s rights” and “freedom”,while top less,brain less,and moral less.
      There was a documentary i came across once about them,when some of their members were interviewed about their group,the goal behind and why it came into existence,answers were like : We’re against Hijab,Sharia,violence and oppression used against women. One of them said the exact following “we ask from Hijabi women to take off their Hijab and join our cause”!!!! I mean,what?? Their heads are completely EMPTY. No idea what Hijab means,no idea why it’s worn,no idea what ISLAM IS AT ALL. If you’re going to fight an idea,KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT,don’t make a fool out of yourselves.

      • Faith /

        I agree that fighting for women’s rights by posing topless is a stupid idea, and it’s only bringing negative attention. But Sara, since you brought up the meaning of the Hijab, do you actually know it? What is the meaning a face painted with loads of make-up and a head wrapped tightly with an attractive scarf that matches the rest a tight outfit? 90% of the women wearing the hijab look like that. Let’s say you are talking about the other 10%, what is the meaning of the hijab for those? Do you know?

        • Sara /

          @Faith
          I’m really glad you brought that up. If we talk about the word Hijab and what it means,then it’s way more than the piece of clothig most of women as you said add on the pounds of make-up,tight or revealing clothes. Hijab is not just hiding your hair,it’s not just covering your head,and it’s definitely not just for women only as God commands. In Surah Al-Nur (the light) 24:31 :
          “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss.”

          For men :
          “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.” 24:30

          It is important to first understand whether the hijab is a command from Allah (swt) or not. We should also have an idea of what is meant by the hijab and whether it is only the women who are given this command or not. When one reads the Quran it is seen that the women and men both are instructed to practice the Hijab. Men are given their specific instructions and women are given theirs. Prophet Muhammad (saw) taught his Ummah how to observe this Hijab. He told us what it includes and what it excludes. The order for hijab for the women is found in Surah Nur 24:31.

          Hijab for the Women

          The transliteration of the Ayah Surah Nur 24:31:

          Wa qul li al-mu’minat yaghdudna min absarihinna wa yahfazna furujahunna wa laa yubdina zenatahunna illa maa zahara min haa wal-yadribna bi khumur ihinna ala juyubihinna; wa laa yubdina zenatahunna illa li bu’ulatihinna aw aba’ihinna aw aba’i bu’ulatihinna aw abna’ihinna aw abna’i bu’ulatihinna aw ikhwanihinna aw bani ikhwanihinna aw bani akhawatihinna aw nisa’ihinna aw maa malakat aymanu hunna aw at-tabi’ina ghayri ulu’l-irbat min ar-rijal aw at-tifl alladhina lam yazharu ala awrat an-nisa wa laa yadribna bi arjulihinna li yu’lama maa yukhfina min zenatahinna. Wa tubu ilaAllahi jami’an, ayyuha al-mu’minun la’allakum tuflihun

          Translation is as follows:
          And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss. – [Yusuf Ali 24:31]
          Allow me to use various other translations of the verse while quoting only the concerned part so that one may understand what is being conveyed in the Quran:
          M. Pickthall: “and to draw their veils over their bosoms….”

          Shakir: “and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms….”

          M. Asad: “let them draw their head-coverings over their bosoms….”

          M.T. Hilali / M.M. Khan: “and to draw their veils all over their Juyubihinna….”

          Qaribullah / Darwaish: “And let them draw their veils over their juyubuhinna….”

          M. Sarwar: “Let them cover their breasts with their veils….”

          A. Bewley: “and draw their head-coverings across their breasts….”

          A.M. Daryabadi: “and they shall draw their scarves over their bosoms….”

          E.H. Palmer: “and let them pull their kerchiefs over their bosoms….”

          We have to understand what this word “khumur” is that is used in the Ayat but first I will list the instructions in the ayat and then we will go into detail about different phrases in the Ayat.

          These are the basic instructions in the Ayah:

          (a) Lower their gaze

          (b) Guard their private parts

          (c) Do not display except for “what is apparent”

          (d) To draw the “Khumur” over the “Juyub”

          (e) Not to display their beauty/adornment/ornament expect to the people that are in the Ayah

          (f) No striking of feet so as to prevent from others knowing what is to be hidden
          Points (a), (b) and (f) relate to the behavior of the woman i.e. Not to look at people with a desire and lust, Not indulge in fornication/adultery or other physical contact that is prescribed as immoral by Allah (swt), and Not to strike feet as in dancing, running or any other vulgar movements etc.
          Now to come to the points that mentions the dress code of the women. This is where we come to see what “Khumur” is and what the phrase “what is apparent” means.

          ‘Khumur’
          Khumur is the plural of the word Khimar. According to the Al-Mawrid Arabic-English dictionary:
          Khimar: Hijab, Burqua’a; Veil, yashmak (worn by women) – [Al-Mawrid, Arabic-English, Page 523]

          Khimar as we can see means a head covering. It is something to cover the head with. Therefore one cannot say that the ayat does not tell the women to cover the head because the Ayat uses the word ‘Khimar’ which refers to a cloth used to cover the head. Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir of the Quran explains: “Khumur (veils) is the plural of Khimar, which means something that covers, and is what is used to cover the head.”

          You see, in those times, the women used to wear the ‘khimar’ in such a way that their chests used to be bare, just like how the non-Muslims used to dress. One can say that this was the fashion in those days among the women. So Allah (swt) revealed this verse, as Ibn Kathir explains, “so that they will be different from the women of the Jahiliyyah, who did not do that but would pass in front of men with their chests completely uncovered, and with their necks, forelocks, hair and earrings uncovered,” thus teaching the Muslim women how to dress.
          This is to teach the Muslimahs that they should use the ‘khimar’ (head-covering) in such a way that they also draw it over their chests and hence covering them from view. So while the head is covered, the chest is also covered.

          ‘Maa zahara min haa’ (Except that which appears thereof)
          Now before we go into defining the above phrase, I think it is appropriate to point out that there is no disagreement between the scholars regarding the covering of the head. All of them have unanimously stated that there are clear instructions in the Quran as well as the Ahadith that the women are required to cover the head. Currently I have not dwelt in the enormous pool of Ahadith and have stuck only to the Quran to show that the covering of the hair is compulsory.

          In Ma’ariful Quran it is stated:

          “First exception is that of ‘maa zahara min haa’ (except that which appears thereof). It means that ‘Women are not permitted to show their zinah to men, except that which is revealed on its own’. The indication is that while women are working, some parts of their body get uncovered automatically, and their covering is difficult, hence, exception of such parts is permitted. There is no sin in their uncovering. (Ibn Kathir).” – [Ma'ariful Quran, by Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi, First Authorized Edition 2004, Vol. 6, pg 411]

          The question however arises, what parts do fall in within this permissible boundary and thus it further continues:

          “On this subject Sayyidna Abdullah Ibn Masud (ra) and Abdullah Ibn Abbas (ra) have given different explanations. Sayyidna Abdullah Ibn Masud (ra) has explained that what has been excepted in ‘maa zahara min haa’ is the outer covering, such as the veil or the sheet used for Hijab. These over-clothings are used to cover up the normal garments of zinah. Hence, the meaning of the verse would be that it is not permitted to show anything from the zinah (garments), except the over-clothings like veil, whose hiding is not possible when going out for some work. On the other hand Sayyidna Abdullah Ibn Abbas (ra) has interpreted that it is purported for face and palms, because when a woman is forced to go out because of necessity, it is difficult to hide face and palms while engaged in her work. Therefore, according to Sayyidna Abdullah Ibn Masud (ra) it is not permitted for a woman even to uncover – their faces and palms before non-Mahram men. Only the over-clothings, like veil etc. are excepted under necessity. But in accordance with the explanation of Abdullah Ibn Abbas (ra) it is permitted to uncover the face and palms before the non-Mahrams. Thus there is a difference between the religious scholars on the issue whether it is permissible to uncover the face and palms before non-Mahrams or not.” – [ibid]

          Ibn Kathir on his commentary regarding the same phrase in the concerned verse tells us that it “means they should not show anything of their adornment to non-Mahram men except for whatever it is impossible to hide. Ibn Mas`ud said: “Such as clothes and outer garments,” Meaning what the Arab women used to wear of the veil which covered their clothes and whatever showed from underneath the outer garment. There is no blame on her for this, because this is something that she cannot conceal. Similar to that is what appears of her lower garment and what she cannot conceal. Al-Hasan, Ibn Sirin, Abu Al-Jawza’, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i and others also had the same view as Ibn Mas`ud.”

          The Undeniable Fact

          A lot of tafsirs and a lot of scholars can be quoted to explain their stand on this verse. However the aim of this article is not to prove that covering the face and hands is obligatory but only to prove that covering the hair is obligatory. Keeping that in mind, I will reiterate that while scholars dispute on the covering of the face and the hands, all the four major Imams agree that covering the hair is obligatory and a direct command to the woman from Allah (swt). Hence covering the hair is an undeniable fact which is denied only by the ones who do not wish to submit themselves to Allah (swt) and follow His commandments. If a woman does feel that their lips, nose are also part of her beauty and attracts lustful people then she is required without a doubt to cover it i.e. wear a veil.

          Is Lowering the Gaze not Enough?

          Some people would say that the first and foremost command in the verse is regarding the lowering of the gaze and that is all that is important because it is the intention that matters. Such people would go to all lengths to try and justify that Hijab is not a requirement but their claims will always lack the understanding of the Arabic or ignoring the numerous Ahadith regarding this issue.

          The verse does start with lowering the gaze and guarding the modesty because this is the most important step of the Hijab for the women. A woman can wear the head-covering yet be immoral and unchaste so it is of course important and in fact the stepping stone of Hijab for the woman to lower her gaze and guard her modesty. This bit of the commandment refers to what is in the hands of the woman. To lower her gaze and to be chaste is within her hands and she has complete control over it thus this is the first and initial step as with the absence of this step, the foundation of the Hijab will be weak and with a weak foundation, the building always falls to the ground. This first step guards the woman from committing immoral acts.

          The second step of the Hijab refers to something which is in the hands of the woman and also to something which is not in their hands. This step not only guards the woman from committing immoral acts but also guards the woman from being a target or victim of an immoral act or violation. Wearing seductive clothes will always entice people of the opposite sex. I do not mean to point that it will only attract the rapists. Normally when people say that women that dress while exposing themselves can attract rapists, certain people throw a tantrum without caring to understand what one is trying to explain. Cindy Taylor, who was raped twice, actually defended the Australian mufti who said that women in order to prevent being the victim of rape should dress more modestly. She stated that she understood what the Australian imam, Hilali, was trying to explain to the people and asked the Australians to be more open-minded. However I do not wish to stress only on this single factor.

          Young male people who have female classmates can be attracted to the way their female classmates dress and the way they make themselves appear. This can then lead onto them trying to secure a date with the female and in return making a lot of promises that they do not even mean just to be able to have some ‘guy fun’. This is a hard fact and everyone has either been a victim or been the cheat or knows someone who is either of the two. One cannot deny these situations which do occur. So one can claim, if the woman is lowering her gaze and guarding her modesty, she will not fall for such fake promises. The reality is that even if she is lowering her gaze while dressing alluringly she will yet be exposed to the temptation that will be caused by the fake promises.

          Islam aims to secure the women from being the victim of such people by giving them the means to completely seal themselves from even being tempted by people or being a target of their evil desires. In the complete sense the Hijab is the exclusion of any such apparel or action which would attract the person of the opposite sex especially the attracting of the ones with evil intentions. These actions also include any such body language. Many people are not aware of body language and thus might, unintentionally, attract people. Of course unintentional acts are inshaAllah forgiven by Allah (swt) but it is also important to not that when a woman is properly covered, there are less chances of her to attract someone with unintentional body language.

          The physical self of the woman is for herself and her husband and not a view for the entire world to enjoy. She should then guard herself and cover herself according to the prescribed boundaries set by Allah (swt). The prescribed way prevents a woman from being admired for her physical self and makes provision for her being admired for her spiritual side. A man attracted to a woman due to physical reasons can hardly remain true to her for life.

          Is Hair Part of the Beauty?

          Of course many women might feel that the hair is not part of the beauty of the woman and that she can leave them uncovered. Hair is definitely part of the beauty and the fact that fashion magazines have loads of articles on the latest hairstyles is evidence enough that hair is part of the beauty of the woman. Hair actually enhances the beauty of the woman and trying different hairstyles can really bring out a change in the way a woman looks. If hair were not part of the beauty of a woman and if it did not enhance her looks then big fashion industries would not spend hours advertising new hairstyles nor would fashion magazines print articles on such matters. It cannot be hidden that a man is attracted to the hair.
          When we state that hair is not part of the beauty then we are only deceiving ourselves and no one else. Allah (swt) is the Creator of everything including humans of course and who would know better the created than the Creator? Allah (swt) knows that which is part of the beauty of a man or a woman and what steps would secure them both. Hence He in His Divine Wisdom has ordained for us certain rulings which we have to abide by. Now we have a choice of either to submit to Allah (swt) and follow that which He commands or make excuses and try not to follow what is commanded.

          But I Think…

          Often I get the responses “but I think it is not applicable” or “but I think it is a cultural thing” and the list of such interrelated questions with minor variations is endless. Firstly let us make one thing clear; Islam is applicable till the end of time. There can be no changes in it and is to be followed just the way Prophet Muhammad (saw) followed it and taught us to follow it (For details also refer to my article “Can Islam be changed”).
          Secondly many think that the pre-Islamic era in Medina was highly conservative and thus Islam incorporated that or rather traditions incorporated that and thus it is not applicable today. This is actually a misconception. Barnaby Rogerson in his book titled ‘The Heirs of The Prophet Muhammad’ states on page 97: “cover bosoms and lower gaze are instructions to encourage a natural modesty – especially when you remember that the Prophet was addressing an audience brought up in the extremely free sexual environment of the oasis of Medina.” This shows that the culture in Medina was not that of covering up oneself but rather this was a ruling of Islam which brought forth the concept of Hijab and modesty.
          Another popular “But I think…” is the question “but I think it is okay to not do the Hijab in hot climate countries”. Again this is one of the weak attempts to try and find excuses not to follow the command of Allah (swt). It is laughable the way one can come up with issues that make no sense. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims including Western Muslims live under hot climate. Yet they wear the Hijab and are very much comfortable in it. Apart from these the Muslim women in the days of Prophet Muhammad (saw) wore Hijab in the desert heat but found themselves to be at ease. Yet today some people come up with saying that it is not comfortable. What women can do if the heat does truly bother them, is to wear scarf made of thinner material like cotton or georgette etc. Additionally one can wear light colored scarves as well. The Hijab will actually also protect one’s neck and scalp from the harmful ultra-violet rays of the sun.
          It is not possible for me to reply to all the “but I think” questions that people ask but generally it will be observed that such questions are based on a similar theme and show reluctance on behalf of the questioner to follow the command of Allah (swt) and thus they create petty excuses.

          Hijab for the Men

          Before the women are given the guidelines in this Surah, the men are given their guidelines.
          “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.” – [Quran 24:30]

          The transliteration of the same verse is as follows:

          Qul lilmu/mineena yaghuddu min ab[sa]rihum waya[h]fa{th}oo furoojahum [tha]lika azk[a] lahum inna All[a]ha khabeerun bim[a] ya[s]naAAoon(a) – [Quran 24:30]

          Here we find that the men are given the primary command to lower their gaze. In Ma’ariful Quran it is stated:
          “The word ‘yaghuddu’ is derived from ‘ghadd’, which means to bring down or lower, (‘Raghib’) lowering of eyes or to keep eyes down as enjoined in the verse, means to turn the eyes from something which is prohibited to be seen by Shariah (Ibn Kathir). Ibn Hibban has given the explanation that to look at a non-Mahram woman with the intent to have (sexual) pleasure is totally prohibited, and to look without any such motive is makkruh (undesirable). To look at any woman’s or man’s private parts of the body is included in this explanation (except in case of dire necessity, such as medical examination). Peeping into anyone’s house with the intent of finding out his secrets, and all such acts where looking is prohibited by Shariah are all included in this injunction.” – [Ma'ariful Quran, by Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi, First Authorized Edition 2004, Vol. 6, pg 408]

          Also we find in Tafsir Ibn Kathir the following explanation regarding the concerned Quranic verse:

          “The Command to lower the Gaze This is a command from Allah to His believing servants, to lower their gaze from looking at things that have been prohibited for them. They should look only at what is permissible for them to look at, and lower their gaze from forbidden things. If it so happens that a person’s gaze unintentionally falls upon something forbidden, he should quickly look away. Muslim recorded in his Sahih that Jarir bin `Abdullah Al-Bajali, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “I asked the Prophet about the sudden glance, and he commanded me to turn my gaze away.

          In the Sahih it is narrated that Abu Sa`id said that the Messenger of Allah said:

          (Beware of sitting in the streets.) They said, “O Messenger of Allah, we have no alternative but to sit in the streets to converse with one another.” The Messenger of Allah said:

          (If you insist, then give the street its rights.) They asked, “What are the rights of the street, O Messenger of Allah” He said,

          (Lower your gaze, return the greeting of Salam, enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil.)”

          Thus we find that the men are commanded strictly to lower their gaze and of course guard their private parts which would also mean to remain chaste and not adopt immoral ways. These two actions are the very first step regarding the Hijab of the men as prescribed in Islam by Allah (swt).
          Men also have a dress code and there are certain things which they cannot wear but women can wear. A man is not allowed to wear silk or gold. The man cannot wear thin or see through clothes that would reveal his self to the public. Men are also forbidden to wear that would have any religious significance in another religion. Moreover the man is not permitted to wear tight clothes. The dressing should be loose so as not to show the figure of ones body to others especially those of the opposite sex. There are many rules attached to the dress code of the man. While to some women big biceps of a male would be appealing, it is definitely not permissible for a man with big biceps to show them off in front of females. In fact if a man does have such biceps then it is only appropriate for him to cover them in the right manner.

          Islam has prescribed the Hijab for both the male and the female. The man cannot say that he can overlook his Hijab because the woman is required to lower the gaze and thus she should lower hers and not look at him. Similarly the woman cannot make a similar claim. Both the sexes are responsible for their bit and both will be answerable for how much they follow and do not follow. While some people consider the body language to play an important role in attracting lustful intentions, it is appropriate for both the sexes to be careful of their body language. The Quran prescribes the covering of the head for the females and thus there is no loophole in this command. No one can make the claim that it is not a command from Allah (swt). The fact that it is in the Quran and that Prophet Muhammad (saw) asked the women to do so, establishes it as a ruling in the Shariah although this ruling, if not followed, is not punishable under the Islamic Jurisprudence. Its punishment or mercy lies only in the hands of Allah (swt). This goes both ways for the male and the female.
          Aren’t women more attractive than men? don’t they have more to cherish? I just believe that our bodies are too precious to be publicly exposed like this,we can solve everything by talking it out. Don’t you find it disrespectful for someone to open the door for you while naked? Isn’t it more appropriate to the other person to face them with your clothes on? It’s something we all agree on,something we share,or else we would all walk out naked,if nudity is that good,and “effective” in this case here.
          The last thing i want to add : We’re humans for a REASON.

          Peace.

          • jixiang /

            @ Sara: It says in the article that a conservative Islamist leader called Adel Almi called for the woman to receive “80 to 100 lashes”. How do you feel about this, may I ask? Does this offend you more than a woman bearing her breasts, or not?

            • Soraya /

              @Jixiang : N.B: that not everyone that does speak on Islam is to be taken as a token for all Muslims or for Islam itself .There are maany feminist movements and organisations in Tunisian, and the problem that most of the people here are really shocked by the way some foreign medias dealt with the issue . Some people got offended some people just like me , just do not care about Amina . We all know she’s safe and her family does live not very far from my place . Our top priority for now is solving our economic problems and reducing unemployment, promoting our Tourism porducts . By the way you are welcome to visit Tunisia and see how things function between people of different backgrounds . Jews and Muslims live peacefly and Jerba and I have many friends among them who do not agree with Femen ways . That’s their right , isn’t it ?

          • James Chalmers /

            A long and informative reply Sara, yet you still betray yourself. Even when apologetically padded and explained, the teachings you’ve discussed are inherently sexist and incredibly unfair. You don’t quite understand this do you? Any rule which requires one gender to cover their head and doesn’t require the same of the other is an abominable rule. You’ve no leg to stand on.

            • Sara /

              @ James Chalmers

              “Any rule which requires one gender to cover their head and doesn’t require the same of the other is an abominable rule.”
              Women and men are DIFFERENT,and therefore given different Hijab conditions,it’s as simple as that.
              If you can’t even undestand this,then that’s your probleme. But wait! You do acknowledge that they ARE different at least,don’t you? Well i hope so.

      • James Chalmers /

        Please Madam, educate us to what is ‘immoral’ about protesting topless? You’ve talked about immorality – you’ve indeed spat that word out bitterly and then you’ve gone on a diabolical and ill-informed, close minded rampage about how important the Hijab is. Sadly, to the thinking individual, the Hijab is an antiquated instrument of gender inequality and oppression. The fact that you can’t see this lends an air of ignorance and ‘brainlessness’ to your words.

        If you were to be truly objective, the Hijab is more compatible with the definition of immorality than being topless is.

        Indeed, you might need to educate yourself to avoid making a further spectacle of your incalculable cognitive ineptitude. The Femen movement is brash and possibly even counter-productive, but it is a world away from the dogmatism of those who are heavily indoctrinated Islamists. Shame on you.

      • BeB /

        I agree with you Sara. A statement can also be made with cardboards,flags and revolting, protesting without repeling people and with all that open critisize others that choose to cover them selfs by wearing a Hijab calling and judging them of being opressed.

        Oke the message is understood. Rapist are filth and never should touch a woman, child or any person because he or she is wearing revaling clothing. But if they were true open minded they would have said something different about girls chosing to wear Hjiab. But they didn’t.

        There are serious problems with the country, Tunisia’s economy
        Still struggling

        http://www.economist.com/blogs/pomegranate/2013/03/tunisias-economy

        Were do the priorities of Tunisia Lie? Oke we established that there were a whole lot of tities on tv on internet on radio everywhere, and in the end even gained that freedom of speech boundaries are extended.

        Let’s continue now with the World Social Forum and fixate on the real problems at hand in Tunisia.

        They really do not know what they are talking about because some people also gave a bad example for them leaving to set the right tone to have predious thoughts. They do not know Islam or Hijab and link this directly just to terrorism or jihad. For them this looks the same?

        • Soraya /

          I 100% agree with your statement Sir . Je vous remercie . Indeed we have to focus more on our economy . Amina can dress up the way she wants that’s not what’s going to solve unemployment and other real important issues in Tunisia .

            • Soraya /

              lol and where did you get those allegations from? Hello ! “Topless Tunisian Activist Safe At Home, Lawyer Says” and no Legale Charges filed against her. So enough with your propaganda, it’s clear that you are only here to attack those who disagrees with you and that with any necessary means : false allegations on top of the list .

      • Medi Trabelsi /

        @Sara,

        The bigger issue is that there are so many versions of Islam around that it is difficult to understand. Even in Tunisia there is a large group of people that do not wear the Hijab and see themselves as just as religious as those that do.

        By the way do you wear the Niqāb? If not why not, because that is the right interpretation of Islam of some people as well.

        In other words where do you draw the line?

        Same for Sharia – some interpret it one way, others another way. Everybody has of course their own interpretation of Allahs will. Who is right? (Definitely not Ennahdha by the way). Maybe the salafists?

        I suspect you are not as free as what you think.

        • Sara /

          @ Medi Trabelsi

          Wearing the veil or not is up to the WOMAN. It’s a question of how faithful she can get,because after all,it’s a command from God and for God,isn’t it?
          Versions of Islam? Who cares? There’s only ONE version of Quran,isn’t there? We all have got brains to differenciate between black and white,wrong and right,don’t we?
          And in whatever versions you’re talking about,we’ll find the same idea,derived from Quran about Hijab,in different ways,different levels of Imane(faith).

          • James Chalmers /

            You say that it is a command from God. Other people who interpret it different disagree with you. Can you provide evidence for anything that you are saying? You sound more and more like a woman with a diabolically devout axe to grind.

            • Sara /

              @James Chalmers
              It’s you who sounds like you know better,so please do enlighten me with YOUR evidences.
              My simple point is,a woman is free to wear the veil or not,none has no right to force her,as it has to do with her faith…Her relationship between her and her creator,he gets to judge her.

          • Thank you /

            for calling my grandma, wife and daughter ‘unfaithful’ because they are not wearing a silly scarf!

            You think all westren woman are whores because there are woman posing in bikini’s on billboards. Maybe it’s time to learn a bit more about western culture!

            • Colisha /

              Who the hell are you to judge or to assume what all Muslims think or feel? Most of us couldn’t care less about what your grandma, wife, daughter or any other western women are doing or how they dress…unlike you people who are obsessed with trying to “liberate” and “enlighten” us Muslim women, which really means that you are trying to force us to conform to what YOU feel is correct.

      • Ravi Soni /

        Please answer following questions:
        1) what Hijab means to you
        2) why it’s worn
        3) Why can’t you show your face in public?
        4) Don’t you have right to breath freely in public?
        5) Don’t you think women are equal to men?
        6) Don’t you realize today your hiding your face and tomorrow you may ask to do more in the name of religion?

        • kay /

          look up the difference between hijab and niqab, also, unless no woman should justify herself to you, whether she wears a hijab or not.

      • Soraya /

        I get your point Sara however I have noticed that this space is Sara feel free to express yourself just like Femen did . And if anyone has a problem with Islam then he’d better stop hiding his venom behind feminist activists.

    1. Valerie T /

      If she is safe then why doesn’t she say so herself rather than having a lawyer who claims to represent her make the statement? One has to assume that even if the lawyer represents her in some form he/she was hired by her family rather than by Amina herself.

      Is she safe or is that simply the official propaganda?

    2. Pat Miller /

      She’s a delusional freaking idiot just like all the members of this Femen group. Of course, when you don’t have a good head over your shoulders to fight for your ideas and sell you convictions, you resort to this kind of protest. She got the attention that your brain and mouth couldn’t buy her. She learned the valuable lesson that sex sells, now let’s see if she can put that valuable lesson to earning money beyond what her brain can ever earn her.

      • James Chalmers /

        Did seeing her breasts offend you so much that you decided to label her as a delusional freaking idiot?

        They’re her breasts… Are you really that upset by them?

        Perhaps we need more people like Amina to challenge your notions and beliefs.

        • zarboot /

          reading your arrogant posts…I feel the urge to slap you in the face with a week old smelly salmon…

          but well…I gotta remain civilized.

          Dude, if a set of people decided in a sovereign way that they cannot allow bear breasts and dangling penises to be shown in public…then have the decency to respect that…

          As far as I am concerned, your are a pitiful subject of her majesty, the queen of silly ceremony and strange hats…start by contesting that. Then when you prove your argument and sharpen your knives…we will welcome you ask for a discussion on bear breasted women in TUNISIAN society..in the mean time, your input is that of an angry old man with a chip on the shoulder who is cranky and old….

          please let those happy joyful kids play by your lawn…don’t kick them out, shout at them just like any crabby old man.

    3. John /

      People can complain all they like about the medium used in this instance, but there’s really no arguing with the results. I wouldn’t call her decision a fantastic life choice, but I don’t see any other way that she could have gained such exposure for a single cause.

      Also, I would be careful about how much meaning we give to this girl’s actions. If we view them within the context of a teenage girl posting a picture on the internet in the name of some cause (which I think is somewhere closer to the truth), then this story doesn’t make the news cycle. However, if we load her actions up with all kinds of cultural baggage it suddenly becomes headline news. My point is that, whether you agree or disagree with her statement, who cares? She’s a 19-year old girl who took a picture of herself. Do you really think she considered the entire political and cultural landscape in a highly calculated effort to usurp power from… who? Women? Feminism? Salafism? I don’t think so.

    4. Steve Smith /

      3 minutes ago I had no idea who FEMEN where. Now I do.

      I can see how protesting for women’s rights and generating awareness of this cause in an outlandish fashion might be productive. Baring one’s breasts? Pardon me, but most of us were breastfed. And most of us see women as equals rather than sexualized chattels that have to be shrouded head to toe in order for us to control our baser instincts.

      Mark it, a hundred years forward they’ll look back at our primitive views and most of the religions that debase women will be seen for what they are. If you don’t know what that is, you’re part of the problem.

        • zarboot /

          James and Steve, i know someone who knows someone who knows someone from soho and he will bring a couple of dudes to show you a couple of things and wiggle them by your face…hopefully early in the morning when your kids are leaving to school….after all your kids seen it before….right

          • B166ER /

            Zarboot, may I point you to the fact that there is quite a stretch in comparing ‘baring one’s breast in a political protest directed at adults for the sake of spreading a message against inequality and oppression’, and someone obnoxiously wiggling his willy in children’s faces? Or shoving a vagina in children’s faces? Same thing! no need to sneakily change gender in order for your argument to piggy back on gender differences/inequalities.

            • Colisha /

              What he said is not a stretch at all. YOU may see this as a “political protest” but for those Muslims who were just trying to mind their business and go to and from their masjid, these people standing around naked, desecrating religious symbols (i.e. burning Islamic flags), and shouting down people outside the masjid, were just being disrespectful, rude and obnoxious.

    5. ramzy /

      I have a suggestion can all the tunisians contribute 100millimes each to buy a one way tickit to ukraine I am sure she will be very wellcomed and allowed to go topless. Looking at her nudity it appears saggy and flobby?????

        • zarbiyah /

          dude, you for sure, you, lack cultural empathy, institutional understanding and societal comprehension.
          What’s good in your culture must not be necessarily fine somewhere else. If Tunisians by and large disapprove of bare breasted women in their own society, I don’t see how a “James” has a saying in this….let alone an arrogant dismissive saying …

      • Soraya /

        I d like to see my Tunisian sisters known for their minds and their activism like Lina Ben Mhenni not for their breasts .

        • James Chalmers /

          That’s nice, but you’re viewing this through clouded goggles. You need to decouple your thinking from it’s cultural framework and acknowledge that the Femen movement is actually quite intellectually stimulating.

          • Soraya /

            I have the right and freedom to view things my way . That’s how freedom of speech functions ! You feel free to think and support whatever you wish , I will never allow myself or anyone else to arrogantly judge your perspective. Ditto I find it quite amusing that people do not practice what they preach lol . Hypocrisy at work , exposed. So if one does agree with Femen’s ways , he’s the one who gets it but if one does not do so the he ‘s to be treated as culturally framed . Double standards much ?

          • zarboot /

            As far as I know the topless woman is Tunisian and she posted her pictures for Tunisians…I will keep my cultural framework for that analysis. In the mean time, you can adapt your cultural framework to its Tunisian context, or else, take your argument and use it somewhere else.
            This is not a communist socialist experiment. this is a specific case in a specific cultural landscape that cannot be decoded unless it is contextualized in its original framework.

    6. Jamie /

      If you need to ask whats immoral about posing topless?, this tells us everything we need to know about you and the porno culture you were raised in.

      • James Chalmers /

        Who is ‘us’ Jamie? I think you’ve betrayed exactly what kind of person you are. If you believe that a woman cannot bare her breasts without being ‘immoral’ then you have serious issues you need to deal with. Of course, baring your breasts in public is neither polite nor is it deemed tasteful in modern society – but I do not see how morality comes into that. For those of us who are more open minded and unhindered by the shackles of deep-set misogyny, the term ‘morality’ doesn’t extend to cover the issue of how much clothing a woman or a man should wear.

        If you think it’s immoral, I challenge you to submit your arguments in a coherent and logical fashion and prove to us why we should give a damn. Meanwhile, you are part of the problem Jamie. Try and take a little time to ponder on exactly what problem you have with bare breasts.

    7. Katherine /

      Dear Mr Chalmers,

      Thank you for your well-worded and -reasoned statements. As a long-time student of Near Eastern and Islamic culture (I have graduate degrees in International Studies with an emphasis on social anthropology and Islamic law and in sociology), I see the hijab as much more than a religious statement or obligation. There is no clear commandment in the Qu’ran for women to wear a veil or headscarf. It is a cultural symbol, which predates Islam by centuries, and that regained popularity in the 1980s and 1990s as a political tool to publicly identify oneself as Islamic and, in many cases, as anti-Western, thus creating an us-versus-them mentality.

      I recently read an interview with a well-known Pakistani physicist who began teaching at uni in Islamabad in the 1970s when the headscarf was conspicuously absent from campuses, schools, offices, and cities across the country. Its reappearance can be linked to the spread of an Islamist movement with roots in Egypt. Indeed, hijab had fallen out of favour in many parts of the Middle East for a time, something totalising accounts of Islam may not realise. This scientist calls the headscarf a label with which the wearer identifies herself as belonging to a certain group. Some, and it is not a small minority, also wear it out of fear, because without it they fall prey to male attackers who harrass them at bus stops, in shops, and on the streets. All Muslim countries are patriarchal, as are several non-Islamic ones, but the cultural attitude that allows or even encourages men to molest and harrass women is the root cause of evil.

      In summary, thank you, James, for defending women’s rights, for denouncing the fallacious argument that naked skin + woman = instant immorality, and for doing it all in such a rational and eloquent manner. Bravo, sir! Very well done indeed!

    8. Soraya /

      The veil has never been an issue in Tunisia and noone is imposing such a thing on women. If she wants to put it , as a Muslim or a Jew or Christian then fine . If not what’s the problem ? I have noticed that since Amina made that gesture many International organisations and citizens started suddenly to care about the freedom of speech in Tunisia . That sounds good , however where were all those people when Ben Ali used to ban the veil and when he used to censor Utube , daily motions and other sites , when he used to shut down our blogs , when Journalists used to be bullied and killed ?? It seems that they just stand up with the kind of so called freedom that goes with their agenda , and this latter does scare me a lot . Until then I d rather those hands stay off of my Tunisia . N.B: we have no oil .

      • Sara /

        You’ve said it all Soraya,that’s it :)
        And yes,Hijab was never the probleme before,why now? & why like this?
        Islam forces NO woman to wear the veil.

        • Soraya /

          It’s because Hijab is not real issue about what’s actually going on in Tunisia. They just wanna get us busy thinking about secondary issues while they: the current govrenment and allies, lead the country to ruins . We should all stay united , as different as we are from each other , but still let us all think about the welfare of our country , only us can lift our country up . We need no foreign help.

        • jixiang /

          There are people within Islam who do force women to wear the veil. In Iran it is the stated law that women must wear it. In Saudi Arabia and the other gulf countries it’s also not socially acceptable not to wear it.

          Of course, banning the veil is also wrong. It should be up to a person’s conscience.

          • Soraya /

            Indeed those principles and basic freedom have always been part of our constitution though Ben Ali never took them into consideration and the same basic freedoms are to be included in our new Constitution.

          • Colisha /

            Why are there no international protests for all of those “oppressed” Christian teenage girls whose parents force them to wear long skirts, or to go to church or not to date? It seems like people like to cherry pick their causes.

        • mark /

          So many posts for a pair of breasts….why is there not the same debate about the economy or unemployment….there is something very wrong when this story gets so much attention and so many posts…..just saying

    9. Noor /

      Testing of human beings and of those who are believers are a part of lives. The two conditions of life leads a person to destroy the natural principles of the life, One who is in Wealthy Condition and the other who is in Poor Condition( in Monterey terms) if hearts and minds goes empty from The Fear of God, The desire of a natural society of human being. In both conditions, the natural balance in sexual feelings make our lives safe and in peace. That sexual feelings and specially in those two conditions is a major natural test and where it is our obligation how to make it in balance and keep the humanity on right path. Women are a major part of that sexual feelings so in short Women itself for them and for men is a natural tests and especially in those two conditions. If we do deep assessment of nature, we can easily see and judge what A women is to be in the society, if any action , speak or symbol by a women that brings destruction in human mind and its soul purity(material or non-material as Family destruction, relationship destruction, respect for each other, Time destruction, ruins money, puts bears in fresh mind to gain education, disrespect to elders, Put bears in children mental and psychological growth, lead a person to suicide, stupidity, lying , dishonesty and laziness, leads to a drug society) will be called non-natural and terroristic action on entire humanity. Islam and Nature and its principles are ONE, the status of a women in Islam and nature is so pure, unfortunately due to lake of knowledge, lake of Fear from God leads us to ideas where the pure status of a WOMAN destroyed. Women Society should recognize their status , wear the natural values and be knowledgeable to strongly oppose own and opposite sex devil desires .
      The Male society who accept their desires ONLY destroy the pure status of a WOMEN and I am sorry they have made Woman a tool for Business, their lives comforts, their feelings fulfillment, a full time maid of a house, a things that can be thrown away anytime with no voice, no decision power. Male Society is 100% responsible and they need to be knowledgeable and practice the natural values.
      (I am sorry, I used words that I should not use it publicly)

    Tweets

    Popular posts


    Videos

    Silent March In Memory of Aya

    ...

  • Play Video

    Tunisia's Launch of Truth and Dignity Commission

  • Play Video

    Tunisialive Living Tunisia

  • Play Video

    #FreeAzyz campaigners protest gets violent


  • Posts

    In Pictures

    • Carthage Theater Days statue display in downtown Tunis.

      Photo credit: Tristan Dreisbach, Tunisia Live
    • Carthage Theater Days statue display in downtown Tunis.

      Photo credit: Tristan Dreisbach, Tunisia Live
    • Carthage Theater Days statue display in downtown Tunis.

      Photo credit: Tristan Dreisbach, Tunisia Live
    • Carthage Theater Days statue display in downtown Tunis.

      Photo credit: Tristan Dreisbach, Tunisia Live
    • Carthage Theater Days statue display in downtown Tunis.

      Photo credit: Tristan Dreisbach, Tunisia Live
    • Carthage Theater Days statue display in downtown Tunis.

      Photo credit: Tristan Dreisbach, Tunisia Live
    • Carthage Theater Days statue display in downtown Tunis.

      Photo credit: Tristan Dreisbach, Tunisia Live

  • Opinions