17 June, 2024


Egyptian feminist’s blog received 2.5 million hits with her full frontal nude shot

By Colombo Telegraph –

Wearing nothing but a pair of stockings, red ribbon in her hair and a pair of flat red shoes, the black and white shot would not look out of place in a nude photography book.

Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, a 20-year old university student from Cairo, has sparked outrage in the Middle East with the controversial full-length image, posted on her blog last week. But this is no ordinary art project. It is the work of a feminist Egyptian activist who is making a bold and potentially dangerous statement.

It has since received 3 million hits and thousands flooded the site with insults. Some denounced Elmahdy as a ‘prostitute’ and ‘mentally sick’ or urged police to arrest her. Elmahdy’s posting is almost unheard of in a country where nudity is strongly frowned upon – even as an art form and could lead to her being jailed.

Most women in the Muslim majority Egypt wear the headscarf and even those who don’t rarely wear clothes exposing the arms or legs in public. On her arabic blog, Aliaa defends her actions, writing: ‘Hide all art books and smash naked archaeological statues. ‘Then take off your clothes and look at yourselves in the mirror, then burn your body that you so despise to get rid of your sexual complexes forever, before subjecting me to your bigoted insults or denying my freedom of expression.’

But her attempts at protesting limits on free expression may have backfired. Rather than garner support from the Liberals hoping to win the November 28th election, they are keen to distance themselves from the blogger. They fear she will taint them in the eyes of deeply conservative Egyptians and, ruining their chances at competing with fundamentalist Islamic parties.

Egypt, a nation of some 85 million people, is polarised between Islamists and liberals ahead of the elections, the first since the February downfall of former President Hosni Mubarak.

Members of the most hardline Islamic movement, the Salafis, have warned voters that liberals will corrupt Egypt’s morals. ‘This hurts the entire secular current in front of those calling themselves the people of virtue,’ Sayyed el-Qimni, a prominent self-described secular figure, said referring to Islamists. ‘It’s is a double disaster. Because I am liberal and I believe in the right of personal freedom, I can’t interfere,’ El-Qimni said on Egyptian TV.  The April 6 movement, one of the most prominent liberal activist groups that led the 18-day uprising against Mubarak, issued a statement denying claims by some on the web that Elmahdy is a member of the group.

The posting prompted furious discussions on internet social media sites, with pages for and against her put up on Facebook. One activist, Ahmed Awadallah, praised her in a Tweet, writing, ‘I’m totally taken back by her bravery.’ A supporter, who identified himself as Emad Nasr Zikri, wrote in a comment on Elmahdy’s blog, ‘We need to learn how to separate between nudity and sex.’ He said that before fundamentalist influence in Egypt, ‘there were nude models in art school for students to draw’.

Elmahdy and her boyfriend Kareem Amer, also a controversial blogger, have challenged Egypt’s social conventions before.

Earlier this year, they posted mobile phone video footage of themselves debating with managers of a public park who threw them out for public displays of affection.

Amer spent four years in prison for blog posting deemed insulting to Islam and for calling Mubarak a ‘symbol of tyranny’.

– Maysa Rawi –

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Latest comments

  • 0

    The reaction seems to have started already.

    “A report number 10748 was filed this morning with the Egyptian Attorney general to lay charges according to the Blasphemy law Article 98(f) of the Penal Code, as amended by Law 147/2006 states the penalty for blasphemy and similar crimes:against Aliaa al Mahdi for posing nude on her blog.

    The memo also includes Aliaa’s boyfriend Karim Amer. The plaintiffs want article 98 of the Egyptian law applied to Aliaa and Karim for aiding and incitement:article 98 Shariaa States:Confinement for a period of not less than six months and not exceeding five years, or a fine of not less than five hundred pounds and not exceeding one thousand pounds shall be the penalty inflicted on whoever makes use of religion in propagating, either by words, in writing, or in any other means, extreme ideas for the purpose of inciting strife, ridiculing or insulting a heavenly religion or a sect following it, or damaging national unity.”

    Not clear who is behind the charges. The key issue is whether one or more of the Islamic parties decides to take this up as a cause celebre. If so, this could get very ugly.

  • 0

    She is very Young. When she get old she might be shame her self.

  • 1

    When did standing nude become “ a brave heroic act” this is just one picture cam on the web that’s all, no matter where let it be the Arab world prostitutes stand naked in front of the camera every day, do you call them brave too! If you go naked in front of a camera for money it is prostitution nothing els..

  • 0

    When did standing nude become “ a brave heroic act”

    When it’s done by a woman who will have her life, predictably, threatened by a horde of impotent old misogynist men, who feel threatened by the sight of the nude female form. What a pathetic fuss about nothing.
    They are the real perverts in this.

  • 1

    She can sit on my face any time.

  • 0

    The girl who, unfortunately, it bears the name of Arabic did not respect what passed by the Islamic religion on respect for the body and not show it publicly and had to be in when you do not respect their religion, which is fully aware of him to leave the Islamic religion is respected and appreciated with the knowledge that the Egyptian law prohibits such actions and criminalized and, of course, the punishment will not reach more than solitary, and not killing anyone is not responsible, And the right word to express what did that girl is, of course not a word Liberty, or any kind of art but contempt for religion, law and the duty to have to leave that country and leave Islam because I have no place among us and anyone who thinks like freedom of sexual expression of art are shameful not place here in Egypt is an Islamic country

  • 0

    It takes 1 person and a singular act to start a lasting chain of change. I salute your courage my sister. You are no hypocrite.

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