Egyptian feminist activist Aliaa Magda Elmahdy (born 16 November 1991) is an Egyptian internet activist and women’s rights advocate. With the release of this photograph she made her statement against the Islamic State (IS).
Elmahdy became known for publishing a nude photo on her Blogspot page, which she described on Facebook as “screams against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy”. Since then she became a subject of several death threats. A student of the American University of Cairo, Elmahdy describes herself as a “secular, liberal, feminist, vegetarian, individualist Egyptian” and has identified as an atheist since turning 16. In 2013, Elmahdy sought political asylum in Sweden for fear of being jailed, after being kidnapped and receiving death threats, and escaping a rape attempt.
For the photo, Elmahdy was working in tandem with Femen, the controversial Ukrainian feminist group known for its nude and topless protests. Elmahdy linked up with the group in the wake of her first foray into public nudity, in 2011, when the then-20-year-old posted photos of herself wearing only stocking and red shoes on her blog. The pictures sparked a huge uproar in Egypt, and Elmahdy says she was charged by the state and briefly kidnapped because of them.
(, founder of Femen, explains that the picture was a direct response to the video showing the murder of journalist James Foley: “With our photo message we propose our own ‘way of execution’ of Islamic State ideas,” she said. “Our caption to the photo reads: ‘Animals, our execution of your ideas looks like that! Watch it well! We don’t demand ransoms, we don’t threaten you with new killings, we just SHIT ON YOU, IS!’”
Shevchenko continues: With the picture we want to criticize the killings, rapes, and public executions by Islamic fascists, who are breaking news. This is what the Islamic State wants. They want the world to obey their ideas. Spreading their video messages of executions and sharing their speeches, we do a good job for them, we serve the Islamic State. Instead we should spread our message to them. Enough of tolerance! Don’t be scared to offend. Let’s hit them back with our answers, instead of giving them more space. The world is in fear, exactly as the Islamic State wants. We call not to fear them, but to resist them.