An Iranian woman has posted nude pictures of herself on her blog in support of Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, the Egyptian blogger who last week stirred a controversy in the Arab world for publishing photos of herself naked on Twitter.
In the picture, the Iranian, using the pseudonym "Sepideh Jamil," lifted her shirt and has a block covering her face. "My new blog is in support of Aliaa Magda Elmahdy," she wrote under the picture. "I don't have her courage to show my face or even my real name, but we have the same dream. To be for ourselves and not for someone else. This is why I took the above picture from myself and put it on the net."
The move was immediately endorsed by human rights activist and journalist Maryam Namazie, who called on "All Nude Photo Revolutionaries" to make a calendar "in homage to Aliaa and also to raise awareness on free expression and women's rights and against misogyny and Islamism."
Elmahdy has made headlines around the world for a series of naked pictures that she published on Twitter under her real name in a protest against Islamic extremism. Her move sparked a heated debate on Twitter.
The hash tag #NudePhotoRevolutionary went viral after Ahmed Awadalla, who works in the field of human rights, health, sexuality and gender, tweeted: "@3awadalla: A feminist #Jan25 revolutionary posted her nude photo on the internet to express her freedom. I'm totally taken aback by her bravery".
Elmahdy, a 20-year-old student at the American University of Cairo, defines herself as "Secular, Liberal, Feminist, Vegetarian, Individualist Egyptian". In a tweet, she said "I took my nude photo myself in my parent's home months before I met @Kareemamer [her boyfriend] and I'm atheist since I was 16".
"Put on trial the artists' models who posed nude for art schools until the early 1970s, hide the art books and destroy the nude statues of antiquity, then undress and stand before a mirror and burn your bodies that you despise to forever rid yourselves of your sexual hangups before you direct your humiliation and chauvinism and dare to try to deny me my freedom of expression," she wrote on her blog.
In a status update on Facebook on Tuesday, Elmahdy reiterated her commitment to defend freedom of expression and civil rights, asserting it was her undeniable personal choice to publish naked pictures of herself on Twitter.
"I stand by every letter I wrote and every photo I published and will say that I don't acknowledge any laws that limit freedoms or are discriminatory if I was called for investigation," she wrote.
The Egyptian Coalition of Islamic Law Graduates filed a suit against Aliaa Elmahdy and her boyfriend, the blogger Kareem Amer, under charges of "violating morals, inciting indecency and insulting Islam."
The coalition's Facebook page called for Elmahdy and Amer to be punished according to Islamic law.
"The old constitution and the new declarations of the new one says Islamic law is the source of governing, therefore we asked for Islamic law penalties to be executed on the two bloggers," Ahmed Yehia, coordinator of the coalition, told Bikyamasr.com.
"It is an insult to the revolution as these two persons who pretend to be one of the revolutionists and asking for sexual freedoms. They are giving the uprising a bad name," he continued.
"It is our duty to fight corruption and this is a corruption case, people who are trying to corrupt society with foreign and unacceptable customs like the sexual freedom they ask for," continued Yehia.