During a controversial conference on the role of Muslim women, two women jumped on stage topless to declare their outrage against the topics being discussed by men at the two-day event. The conference based near Paris was reportedly in the middle of debating whether Muslim wives should be beaten or not, when the two Femen protesters took the stage and began yelling feminist slogans in French and Arabic. A report from a French journalist states that the imam was in fact advocating the exemplary treatment of women, whereas Femen dispute that.
To make their voices and those of the groups even more visible, the activists aged 25 and 31, had feminist phrases written across their chests which included “No one subjugates me” and “I am my own prophet.”
Speaking to the Telegraph, a spokeswoman for the feminist protest group and eyewitness Inna Shevchenko said some of the male attendees shouted “dirty whores” and “kill them” as the two women were dragged and kicked off stage by around 15 men.
Following the event, some of the male attendees allegedly took to Twitter and called for the protestors be raped or stoned, but the police showed up and protected the two women.
It’s no surprise that the protest took place. Prior to the the event, that claimed shopping and cooking were “appropriate feminine activities”, a petition was launched demanding the conference be cancelled and gained nearly 6,000 signatures leading up to the event. In the past Femen have been known for their daring nudist protests and have previously targeted far-right French leader Marine Le Pen, claiming she is a fascist.
Femen have drawn criticism from Muslim women in the past for "using Muslim issues to propel their own Western liberal agenda". Many Muslim women do not see the hijab as a symbol of oppression and are frustrated by the protest group’s insistence to the contrary.
Since Saturday's protest, the conference organisers have urged Muslims to "stand together" and claimed the event was“the victim of an anti-Muslim media frenzy.”