A well known Egyptian social activist and blogger posted a photo to Facebook Saturday of herself and another unidentified woman defecating and menstruating on an Islamic State flag while in the nude, in what appears to be a protest against the Islamist terror group’s recent advances in northern Iraq and Syria.
Aliaa Magda Elmahdy did not specify why she posted the photo, though past controversies, such as a 2011 incident in which she posed in only stockings and red shoes for her blog — to protest against Egypt’s conservative culture — suggest that she was opposing the Islamic State terror group’s brutally restrictive and misogynistic ideology.
In the image, the 23-year-old feminist is seen facing the camera, while the other woman, dressed in a black hijab, has her back towards the viewer. Two presumably plastic machine guns are in the background, and the veiled woman is holding up her middle finger. The letters IS are inscribed on Elmahdy’s stomach and on the second woman’s bottom.
Arab media across the Middle East avoided publishing the photo, since the words “there is no God but Allah” are printed on the desecrated flag, Army Radio reported.
Elmahdy said in the past that her photos “scream against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy.” However, she has been criticized for her endeavors not only by hard-line Muslims in her home country, but by liberal, secular leaning individuals as well.
“This hurts the entire secular current in front of those calling themselves the people of virtue,” Sayyed el-Qimni, a prominent secularist, said of the 2011 image, in an apparent reference to Salafi extremists, AP reported at the time.
Elmahdy did not respond to the criticisms, but continued to be active in the struggle to achieve equal rights for women in Egypt.