Blogger and feminist Aliaa El-Mahdy has begun to face a backlash in Egyptian society after a nude photo she took of herself and posted online spreads and catches local and international media attention. Lawsuits against her have been filed.
A group of Islamic law graduates reported Aliaa El-Mahdy and her boyfriend, blogger Karim Amer, to the general prosecutor on Thursday, accusing them of spreading immorality and debauchery along with contempt of religion, demanding that they be punished according to Islamic law.
Another lawyer, Nafisa Abdel Fatah, reported El-Mahdy and Amer to the general prosecutor Friday, also accusing them of spreading immorality. Abdel Fatah told Youm7 website that El-Mahdy and Amer encouraged the spread of the nude photo, aside from being lovers outside of wedlock in defiance of religious and social traditions.
Liberal powers and parties in Egypt expressed their concern at the backlash, which comes shortly before parliamentary elections where liberal parties are facing stiff competition from Islamist parties.
Renowned liberal writer Siyad El-Qamni slammed what El-Mahdy had done, describing her as a mentally disturbed girl. El-Mahdy fired back at on her Twitter account, describing him as a "coward" who backed off from his liberal opinions when he received threats from radical Islamists.
El-Mahdy, a 20-year-old mass communications student at the American University in Cairo posted the nude photo on her personal blog, “A Rebel’s Scream,” last month. They caught attention when retweeted on the Twitter social network, creating intense debate among Egyptian and Arab Twitter users.
Not less than 2,500,000 have visited El-Mahdy’s blog after the post was initially spread on Twitter.