Aliaa Magda Elmahdy is only 23 years old and already she’s making headlines. An Egyptian feminist and internet activist, Elmahdy has amassed a substantial following on Twitter and Facebook, and has had no trouble making waves online and in the streets with her protests against the oppression of women in the Middle East. Her latest stunt, however, is by far the most shocking.
Elmahdy recently posted a photo on her blog of herself and another woman, whose face is hidden, menstruating and defecating on the flag of the Islamic State (IS). Though she did not explicitly state her reason for posting the photograph, it’s known that IS (an Islamic terrorist organization with heavy influence in Iraq and Syria) implements strict Sharia law, which Elmahdy has made clear she is vehemently against.
Elmahdy is no stranger to controversy. In 2011, she outraged conservative and liberal Muslims alike by posting nude photos of herself on Facebook, which she said were a “scream against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy.” And though many prominent Muslim scholars and leaders have publicly condemned IS, some still believe that this photo was a step too far.
I, for one, commend Elmahdy for her bravery, and hope that she doesn’t face any kind of punishment for her self-expression. Since the photo was posted a few days ago, however, Elmahdy’s been quite active on Twitter, so it’s probably safe to assume that nothing serious has happened to her yet as a result of all of this.