Amina: Topless Tunisian Feminist Threatened

A Tunisian activist says she fears for her life after courting controversy by posting topless pictures of herself online in support of Arab women's rights last month.

Ukraine-based group Femen, which stages pranks for women's and gay rights, inspired the bold act of the 19-year-old, known as Amina Tyler.

Ms Tyler posted the pictures of herself with the words: "My body belongs to me" and "F*** your morals" emblazoned across her naked breasts, provoking the ire of Islamist groups.

Shortly after, she disappeared from public view, raising fears that she had suffered reprisals at the hands of extremists and giving rise to a number of rallies around the globe supporting her.

There were also rumours that she had been interned in a psychiatric hospital.

But Ms Tyler has resurfaced in an interview with French TV station Canal Plus, saying she is afraid for her safety and needs to take refuge abroad.

She said she had received several death threats by telephone and via her Facebook account.

A tired-looking Ms Tyler said messages like "You will die" and "We will throw acid at your face, things like that," had been sent to her.

"I need to leave Tunisia, I'm afraid for my life and the lives of my family. There are a lot of rumours about what the Salafists want to do to me," she said.

After the photos appeared, Ms Tyler said her family drove her home, where her cousin "destroyed her telephone Sim card" and "beat her".

Later the family moved to a town three hours from Tunis, she said, where she was forced to stay at her home.

Ms Tyler nevertheless said she did not regret baring her breasts and would remain a Femen activist "until I'm 80 years old".

She added that she wanted to become a journalist and "help the Femen in some way or other".

But she condemned the burning of an Islamic flag by three feminists in front of Paris's Great Mosque on Thursday, which Femen declared as International Topless Jihad day in support of Muslim women, including Ms Tyler.

"I am against [that]," she said of the Islamic flag burning.

"Everyone is going to think that I encouraged it. That is unacceptable."

Last month, Ms Tyler made a TV appearance on a private Tunisian channel with her face blurred.

She insisted her bare-breasted action had not aimed to provoke.

"We, Femen, we have the courage to cry out our demands to liberate women," she said at the time.

No official complaint has been lodged against Ms Tyler, according to her lawyer.

But she risks six months in prison for breaching the peace.

The Femen movement has flourished since 2010, with feminists around the world stripping off in protest against issues ranging from homophobia to prostitution and sexism.

Tunisian women are some of the most free in the Arab world but they have limited inheritance rights, which women's groups say have been further abused by the ruling Islamist party Ennahda.

But Femen's protests on Thursday drew criticism from some Muslim women, who said the style of protest did not help women's rights in the Arab world.

A Facebook campaign against Topless Jihad Day, which more than 1,500 people joined, said: "We as Muslim women and those who stand with us, need to show Femen and their supporters, that their actions are counterproductive and we as Muslim women oppose it."


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The mission of the "FEMEN" movement is to create the most favourable conditions for the young women to join up into a social group with the general idea of the mutual support and social responsibility, helping to reveal the talents of each member of the movement.

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