A group of Muslim women from Birmingham, West Midlands hold up a sign illustrating their opposition to FEMEN who they accuse of stealing their voice.
By Sukaina Ladak
‘Muslim women against FEMEN’ was launched in response to the extremist Ukrainian feminist group that claims all Muslim women are oppressed.
Zeynab Ladak, a 20 year old member of ‘Muslim women against FEMEN’ from Cyprus, said that Muslim women can defend themselves and criticised FEMEN for being self-defeating in their controversial topless protests for women’s rights.
“FEMEN is actually doing something that is contradicting itself; they want females not to be seen as sex objects but go out half-naked,” Zeynab told The Muslim News.
“Taking off one’s t-shirt and writing foul language on one’s breasts is never going to accomplish that goal, and looks as they are looking for attention, not trying to defend Amina (Tyler),” she said.
FEMEN, founded in 2008, sought last month to inflame Facebook postings of Tyler, a Tunisian activist, in which she bared her breasts and used provocative language, by calling for solidarity protests outside mosques and Tunisian embassies.
“Muslim women can defend themselves and are happy wearing the hijab. FEMEN by demanding that I shouldn’t ‘Islamify’ myself is oppressing me by denying my rights to wear what I want. I agree no one should be forced to wear the hijab, but no one should be forced to remove it either!” Zeynab k said.
During the outrage, Tyler received death threats from religious officials, while FEMEN joined forces with her to tackle what they claim is the forced practice of Islam. In posts on the social media, it claimed it was attempting to ‘rescue’ Muslim women.
Many members of ‘Muslim women against FEMEN’ say that they are not against FEMEN’s intentions to support women who are being oppressed, but were insulted by the propaganda used, stressing through blogs and posts that although some Muslim women are oppressed, many Muslim women are not.
Another Facebook page, ‘Muslim Feminists’ has had 3000 views and many posts by people who have views regarding Muslim feminism. A post by the creator of the page criticised Tyler’s message with her topless picture post and wrote ‘The hijab has nothing to do with moral values.’
The owner of the Muslim feminist page was asked by The Muslim News if the topless incident in Tunisia had been turned into a case of Islamophobia in their opinion. “I suppose it has, but I can’t only blame non-Muslims for perpetuating it. It started with death threats made to Tyler,” she replied.
Another member on the Muslim feminist page wrote on the page “Femen seriously NEEDS to rethink their strategy when reaching out to Muslim women.”