So this happened in Sweden on Saturday:
At 11 o’clock on Saturday, [they came] into the Stockholm mosque [in] Södermalm, threw [their] clothes [away, and,] with clenched fists in the air, they shouted in English:… “No to Sharia! No to oppression! Free women!”
Skip the first twelve seconds of the following video unless you speak Swedish. The rest is in English. (Please do not click play if women’s breasts offend you.)
The raven-haired young woman is Aliaa Elmahdy, a secular Egyptian activist and women’s rights advocate who now lives in exile in Europe (link NSFW):
In 2011, while living in Egypt, she uploaded photos to her blog in which she wore nothing more than a flower in her hair, red shoes, and thigh-high polka-dot stockings. This was, she claimed, a form of protest against “the oppression of women in Egypt.” After the image went viral and she began receiving death threats and was kidnapped, the 21-year-old was given political asylum in Sweden.
Breasts, for whatever reason, have the power to shock, and I don’t think shock tactics such as semi-nude disruptions of religious services will make atheists more loved anywhere on the planet. Not even in live-and-let-live liberal Sweden.
We can probably agree that disturbing the peace is against the law for a reason. Groups of people should be able to come together for worship or companionship unhindered.
And yet — every movement needs its outliers, and I understand perfectly where Elmahdy is coming from. When you’re deliberately outrageous, people can hardly ignore you, and you just might force them (after everyone has calmed down) to begin questioning a little bit of what they stand for. Writing blog posts or having a nice panel discussion in a cultural café in Stockholm isn’t the same, and doesn’t carry the same urgency.