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Home > Articles > Female Freedom Fighters: Malala Yousufzai, Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, FEMEN, and others…

Female Freedom Fighters: Malala Yousufzai, Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, FEMEN, and others…

Posted: Thu, January 10, 2013 | By: Joern Pallensen

[the Home Page foto for this article is of Aliaa Magda Almady, the “Egyptian nude blogger”]

Infanticide, child marriage and slavery, rape, genital mutilation, forced marriage, tracking, beating, honor killings, acid attacks, can’t go to school, can’t make enough money, – the list goes on an on… [a recent survey of G20 nations listed India as the worst place to be a woman, and Canada as the best]

How encouraging amidst all this misery and abuse it is to read about heroines and freedom fighters like those I’ve put together in the photo list below. I could have spent hours adding more to the list, but these brave women and girls are some of the finest representatives I could think of. I will probably add more along the way… [additional info and links on these women can be found at my blog, where they were originally posted, HERE]

Malala Yousufzai
Malala Yousufzai


Alia Magda Almady - Egyptian Nude Blogger
Alia Magda Almady - Egyptian Nude Blogger


Manal al Sharif -
Manal al Sharif - “Let’s Drive”


Women Bloggers of South Asia
Women Bloggers of South Asia


FEMEN - “sextremism”


“I have decided to say no”


Taslima Nasrin
Taslima Nasrin


Veena Malik
Veena Malik



Deeyah - the
Deeyah - the “Muslim Madonna”



Shabana Rehman
Shabana Rehman

Psst.. I don’t suppose you could tell me of any heroines who are not revolting against Islam.. ?! – We all know what goes on in India, but.. present day names ? – China ? – Africa ? – Shouldn’t be too hard, but it’s quite amazing how Islam is “stealing” the spotlight, isn’t it..

This essay was first posted in Jorn’s blog, HERE  Check there for additional photos and links to information on these women.


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Reproductive Choices: The Promising Landscape of Assisted Reproductive Technology  


Top Five Questions About The Female Orgasm Answered  


The Future of Women   


How I Became A Rape Victim  


Feminism: The Necessary Ingredient for a Successful Society?  


Women-Only Leadership - Would It Prevent War?  


Ova-Fusion and the Elimination of the Male

Liberating Egypt From Female Genital Mutilation

Vagina Dentata: Techno-Gizmos for the Elimination of Rape   


Time Magazine Woman of the Year: Malala Yusufzai  


Turkey, a Secular State - FEMEN, Atheism, Domestic Violence  


Female Freedom Fighters  


Very cool article, but since when are these heroines “revolting against Islam”?!?!?

Obviously this does not apply to all of the women you have covered here but a majority are not revolting against Islam, they are revolting against the male dominated aspect of the faith that is actually essentially non-Islamic! No where in the Qur’an does it say that women are of a less standing than men in society. What a shame to ruin a good research article with one ending sentence.

By n/a on Jan 10, 2013 at 3:26am

“No where in the Qur’an does it say that women are of a less standing than men in society.”

No need to say it, it is a given.. just as in Christianity and virtually all other faiths.

By Alan Brooks on Jan 10, 2013 at 8:24am

It is important to mention Malalai Joya from Afghanistan in the list as well

By Kivan on Jan 10, 2013 at 9:42am

I agree with the anonymous comment.  Your Islamaphobia is both distasteful and irrelevant to the achievements of these women.  I’m not surprised that Islamaphobic FEMEN was included as they take the ill-informed stance that the veil is inherently oppressive and ignore the fact that many Muslim women choose to wear it.  Might I also remind you that Malala Yousufzai said, regarding her attackers, “i will show them Qur’an ,Qur’an didn’t say that girls are not allowed to go to school “?  If anything she finds empowerment in Islam.  Simply because many of these women are fighting for their rights in Muslim parts of the world does not necessarily mean they are revolting against Islam, just as women revolting in mostly Christian countries are not necessarily against Christianity.  Hirsi Ali would be the exception as an atheist and critic of Islam, but her decisions and opinions may not be share with some of the other women on this list.  While Deeyah criticizes the mistreatment of women in her community, she still ientifies as a Muslim woman, saying “Must we really put up with that Muslim’s cultural identity has been hijacked by people that are preaching hatred and violence while hiding behind culture and religion?” ( she believes that Islam has not been built by oppressive people but polluted by them, and believes in a peaceful religion and culture.  I hope both you and the author of this article actually do some research and listen to what these women say about their own lives before you use their experience for an agenda they might disagree with.

By Kerrin on Jan 10, 2013 at 9:51am

@ n/a

Sorry mate, but my time is too precious to be wasted on someone who tries to lecture us about what is Islamic and what is not and then goes on to say:

“No where in the Qur’an does it say that women are of a less standing than men in society”

At best, that is pure ignorance, and I trust almost all readers know as much, so again: not worth my time to prove your wrong. It will take anyone no more than a couple of minutes to check for themselves.

Yes, of course all these women are revolting against the male dominated aspect of the faith, - and for DAMN’ GOOD REASONS ! 

If you want us to believe all this has nothing to do with Islam, I’m afraid you’re in for a hard time, but you are welcome to try, - I promise to listen..

By joern pallensen on Jan 10, 2013 at 1:24pm

@ Kivan

Thanks for mentioning Malalai Joya , - I intend to add more to my list / slideshow. - I already had another Afghani on my list that I didn’t include: Female rapper Sosan Firooz.

By joern pallensen on Jan 10, 2013 at 1:29pm


Could you be so kind as to tell me, - author of the article, - what you believe IS my agenda ? - What makes you so sure you know ??

Are you suggesting we should NOT support these fine human beings. ?

I am fine - and will always be fine - with anyone who are self-defined Muslims, Christians, Hindus etc., provided it does not involve violations of Universal Human Rights. Sadly, - that is not the case, is it ? - That is what I am fighting against, and that is what these women are fighting against also. It is our common agenda, - and you are suggesting we might not agree on that ?

By joern pallensen on Jan 10, 2013 at 1:33pm

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