Amina Tyler: Tunisian Woman Receiving Death Threats For Trying to Start Feminist Group

A Tunisian woman who hoped to join the radical feminist group FEMEN has been sent to a psychiatric hospital after posting topless photos of herself on Tunisia's FEMEN website and receiving death threats.

19-year-old Amina had been trying to start a Tunisian branch of the Ukraine-born radical feminist group, FEMEN. She created a Facebook page several weeks ago onto which she uploaded photos of herself topless, her nude body painted with phrases like "My Body is My Own and Not the Source of Anyone's Honor" and "F*ck Your Morals."

The head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in Tunisia (enforcers of Sharia Law), preacher Almi Adel, expressed major disgust at Amina's actions.

"This young lady should be punished according to sharia, with 80 to 100 lashes, but [because of] the severity of the act she has committed, she deserves be stoned to death," he said. "Her act could bring about an epidemic. It could be contagious and give ideas to other women. It is therefore necessary to isolate [the incident]. I wish her to be healed."

An Islamist activist hacked Amina's Facebook page early last week, replacing her images with religious messages such as "Thanks to God we have hacked this immoral page and the best is yet to come," and "The page has been hacked and God willing, this debauchery will disappear from Tunisia."

FEMEN leader Inna Shevchenko had been in contact with Amina since late February, discussing Amina's ambition to start a division of FEMEN in Tunisia. They were in phone contact until last week, when Amina suddenly disappeared.

"Her phone went dead and her Facebook page was removed, which also meant I lost all my correspondence with her. I can't get hold of her," said Shevchenko. At first, she was alerted to a video of Amina's aunt that declared that the 19-year-old had killed herself after posting the topless photos online. But then she learned the truth about her whereabouts and was unsurprised.

According to Shevchenko, sending Amina to a psychiatric hospital is "a typical way of reacting to a woman's demand to be free — they say she's gone crazy or is being too emotional."

Following her stay in the hospital, Amina could face up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $600 (USD) if it is determined she committed the offense in Tunisia.

More than 71,000 people have signed an online petition in support of Amina. It states that signers "unequivocally defend Amina, and demand that her life and liberty are protected and that those who have threatened her will be immediately prosecuted."

In a statement, FEMEN expressed their furor over "barbarian threats of the Islamists about the necessity of reprisals against the Tunisian activist Amina."

"We are afraid for her life and we call on women to fight for their freedom against religious atrocities," it continued. "Use your body as a poster for the slogans of freedom. Bare breasts against Islamism."

A new Facebook page exists now upon which supporters from the Islamic world have been posting their own images and news items in support of Amina and her cause.

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Christine Salek

Christine is a writer and perpetual student living in Des Moines, Iowa. Her writing can also be found on Medium, the Gonzaga Bulletin, and ResearchGate.

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