'Obscene' Tunisia women's rally slogan sparks controversy
MP Mohamed Al-Afas caused widespread controversy last week when he claimed the feminist movement harms women's “purity” and that single women are “whores”.
He said that “immodest” women are “slaves to fashion” and temptresses for “immorality and fornication”, whereas Arab women who cover are “precious like a diamond”.
A number of Tunisian politicians asked to waive Al-Afas’ immunity, saying his speech was extremist and insulting to women. His speech was reviled among the general population, sparking protests.
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On Wednesday, the Association of Democratic Women organised a protest in front of parliament, where Tunisian artist Azza Slimene held up an Arabic sign saying: “We are all whores until patriarchy falls.”
Basma Belaid, the widow of leftist opposition leader Chokri Belaid, was photographed with Slimene and her sign, causing outrage at the “manner” in which the women expressed themselves.
The circulating photo sparked a wave of controversy among activists, with some accusing Belaid of insulting Tunisian women, whereas others called for another women's protest march against Slimene and Belaid so-called attempt to “monopolise and defame” the women’s cause.
Some accused the Democratic Women Association of raising "marginal" issues at a time when the country is suffering from corruption and economic and social decline.