Tunisa: Amina arrested, wrote 'Femen' on mosque

Woman not nude, high tension with 200 Salafites arrested

21 May, 16:39

    Young activist Amina Tyler was arrested as she challenged Islamic fundamentalists in Kairouan Young activist Amina Tyler was arrested as she challenged Islamic fundamentalists in Kairouan

    (By Diego Minuti) (ANSAmed) - TUNIS - Tensions are high in Tunisia after Sunday's clashes in which the young activist Amina Tyler was arrested as she challenged Islamic fundamentalists.

    Tyler, 19, was detained in the city of Kairouan, 150km south of Tunis, after staging a protest outside a mosque during violent clashes between police and hardline Islamists.

    She was found in the midst of police scuffles with the Salafist group Ansar al-Shariah in the central Tunisian city of Kairouan on Sunday.

    Tyler had previously described herself as a member of the Ukrainian feminist group Femen, which uses nudity in protests.

    Police arrested the member of the radical feminist movement after she spraypainted the Femen name on a wall outside the Great Mosque of Kairouan, also known as Oqba ibn Nafa mosque.

    Amina had not stripped nude in front of the Salafites as the governor of Kairouan had previously said but her decision to write 'Femen' on the wall of the most important mosque of the city was no less shocking.

    She has been accused of defacing a tomb and possessing a spray can which may have been used to write on the wall of the mosque.

    The woman's actions are somewhere between a great act of courage and madness because she is challenging the Salafites in their stronghold. Kairouan is the 'capital' of the radical Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia and her actions seem inconceivable within the confines of Islam.

    So there was no sudden strip tease but an insult to those who want to put Tunisian women in positions that were abandoned 50 years ago. The video that was circulating on websites yesterday showed another aspect of this complex case because Amina, who was immediately recognised in front of the mosque, has captured people's attention and the reaction of the most orthodox Muslims.

    Tyler, who has short dyed hair and wore jeans and a T-shirt, faced her adversaries in silence.

    "Women can enter the mosque but you can't because you are a whore," one man shouted at her.

    Tunisia is not only about Amina because on Sunday the country witnessed a wave of violent demonstrations in which one protester was killed and 200 people were arrested.

    Salafites were looking to challenge the state for banning Ansar al Sharia meetings and had used stones, knives, swords and Molotov cocktails during the demonstrations.

    But perhaps they were not expecting such a strong reaction from the security forces who had yelled "Allah akbar" to show they were faithful Muslims as they took on the demonstrators with plexiglass shields.

    Police officers went to war with their brothers as seen in a photograph in which a counter revolutionary officer was shown wearing a Salafite bandana. So they were sending a message - I am with you but I am also here for Tunisia.

    Yesterday special police units smashed a group of alleged terrorists accused of preparing attacks against security forces and the army in Kairouan.

    One young man was arrested and two others fled.(ANSAmed).

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