UPDATE: 'Femen Are True Feminists But They Have Insulted Muslims': Topless Tunisian Activist Amina Tyler Speaks
Muslim Women Against Femen (MWAF) claim the group's bare-breasted protests are not liberating and that they "do not need saving".
In an open letter, MWAF complained it was "fed up and tired of hearing from women of privilege perpetuating the stereotype that Muslim women, women of colour and women from the Global South are submissive, helpless and in need of western 'progress'."
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Femen leader Inna Shevchenko sparked anger with her comment that MWAF "Write on their posters that they don't need liberation but in their eyes it's written 'help me'."
Here is the text in full:
“The letter is obviously written not in feminist rhetoric at all, they are making accusations of racism.
“Being born in a post USSR country [Ukraine] I know it's a common trait of dictatorial countries to promote the official position of the government pretending that it's backed by the people.
“I don't deny the fact that there Muslim women who will say they are free and hijab is their choice and right.
“So, sisters, (I prefer to talk to women anyway, even knowing that behind them are bearded men with knives). You say to us that you are against Femen but we are here for you and for all of us, as women are the modern slaves and it's never a question of colour of skin.
“You say you live the way you want. Being the fifth wife in a harem, the maximum you can be is the favourite wife…right?
“You say we talk about you because we are irritated only by bearded men who pray five times per day.
“We have enough bearded bastards in our part of the world, the beard of Russian patriarch Kirill [a Russian Orthodox bishop who is a supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin] would win a competition of 'holy beards' and some people even say that he is so connected to the God so he is praying 30 times a day.
“Sisters, we don’t care how many times your men are praying, but we care a lot what do they do in between.
“We care a lot about violence and aggression, we care when your fathers, brothers and husbands are raping and killing, when they call to stone your sisters, we care a lot when they burn embassies and all that for Allah!
“In our actions the people we are attacking are the one who are constantly oppressing women, covering them, disrespecting them, raping them, beating them whether they are religious or not. But if they do it in name of religion then we can do nothing but tell them their religion is worth nothing.
“We would never talk about Allah or Jesus and other fantasies if those fantasies did not affect human rights.
“You claim that we bring you our idea from our part of the world and you don't need it.
“The idea of freedom doesn't have anything to do with nationality or colour of skin.
“There is no set of human rights for Europeans and another for Arabs or Americans, it’s universal. And we are going to keep fighting for all of us, for our right for freedom.
“We are going to fight with you, with Arab women, like Aliaa Elmahdy, [Egyptian internet activist], like Amina and I hope like you.
“And you can put as many scarves as you want if you are free tomorrow to take it off and to put it back the next day but don't deny millions of your sisters who have fear behind their scarfs, don't deny that there are million of your sisters who have been raped and killed because they are not following wish of Allah!
“We are here to scream about that.
“You say we are Islamophobes, just recently we heard from anti-gay Catholics that we are Christianophobes.
“Yes, I’m scared of all your religions because all of them are bleeding. I’m an Atheist and I cannot say that you are an Atheistophobe as there is nothing that you can be scared of.
“You personally have rights to believe in whatever you want, the same as me but until the moment there are no stones, bullets and blood in your religion we are going to fight it.
“Often, I dream about a world with religions that are only in your houses or churches and don't appear in other places.
“And do you know what I see? I see a world without Serbs, Croats and Muslims being massacred, without 9/11, without witchhunts, without 7/7, a world without suicide bombers and without the Taliban, without Israeli-Palestinian wars, without persecution of Jews as ‘Christ-killers’, without Northern Ireland troubles, without Crusades, a world where are no public beheadings of blasphemers and no flogging of female skin for the crime of showing an inch of it.
“See you on the battle lines!”