Campaigners including Richard Dawkins have called for a day of action to support a young Tunisian woman who appeared to post pictures of herself topless as part of a feminist movement in the country, and was subsequently threatened with death by stoning.
The 19-year-old activist, identified only as Amina, posted on the Femen-Tunisian Facebook page a topless picture of herself with the words “F**k your morals” written across her chest.
Another controversial image followed, of the woman smoking a cigarette, baring her breasts, with the Arabic written across her chest: “My body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour”.
One of the pictures posted on the Femen Tunisia site
Tunisian newspaper Kapitalis quoted the Wahabi Salafi preacher Almi Adel, who heads the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, saying: “The 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.
“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.”
If she committed the offence in Tunisia, Amina could be punished by up to two years in prison and a fine of 100 to 1,000 dinars [between £40 and £400], local media said.
A petition and an international day of action on April 4 to highlight the threats against Amina have been organised by activists.
More than 15,600 people have singed a petition calling for those who have threatened Amina’s life to be prosecuted.
An open letter calling for an International Day to Defend Amina has been signed by many feminist and atheist activists, including Dawkins.
The letter says: “On the day and beyond, groups and individuals can join in by highlighting her case, posting topless photos of themselves and their activism on social media sites, signing a petition, Tweeting #Amina, writing letters in her defence, and more.
“On 4 April, we will remind the Islamists and the world that the real epidemic and disaster that must be challenged is misogyny – Islamic or otherwise.”
Social media accounts of the Tunisian branch of Femen have been reportedly infiltrated by hackers, with videos and pictures on the site being replaced by verses from the Koran.
According to International Business Times, the accounts have now been suspended.
One message read: “The page has been hacked and God willing, this debauchery will disappear from Tunisia.”
Femen said in a statement they were furious about the “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.
“Use your body as a poster for the slogans of freedom. Bare breasts against Islamism.”