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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 26 Oct 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Saudi Girl Students Stir Storm by Backing Polygamy

New Age Islam News Bureau

26 Oct 2013

The female students who launched a Twitter campaign encouraging polygamy as a means to control the increasing rate of spinsterhood in the Kingdom. — Courtesy photo


 Some Saudi Women Defy Driving Ban In Day Of Protest

 Young Afghan Couple Beheaded and Dumped In Graveyard in Horrific Honour Killing

 ‘Protection from Abuse’ Law in Saudi Arabia to Take Effect Next Week

 Iceland Best Place to Be A Woman; Philippines Ranks High In Gender Equality

 Rubana of Bangladesh among BBC’s 100 Women

 Israeli Media Discriminate Against Women in Politics

 WLC Welcomes Muslim Marriage Ruling

 Bangladeshi Women Find Careers as Drivers

 Qatari Shaikha Named ‘Biggest Player in Art World’

 Pakistan: ‘Women Farmers Can Help Tackle Food Insecurity’

 FEMEN opens Turkey office

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Saudi Girl Students Stir Storm by Backing Polygamy

 October 26, 2013

DHAHRAN AL-JANOUB — A number of female college students here have launched a campaign on Twitter calling on men to have multiple wives in line with the Shariah to end the problem of spinsterhood, an Arabic newspaper reported Friday.

The girls urged men who are financially and physically capable of being polygamous to take multiple wives. The campaign has elicited a lot of criticism, praise and, in some cases, mockery.

Users on the micro-blogging website Twitter were divided in their reactions to the campaign. While some agreed that marrying four wives will eradicate the high rate of spinsterhood, which was reported to reach over a million in 2012, others, especially women, were completely against the campaign.

Sultan Al-Subaie, A citizen, said if a man has one wife, he should not take another because this will bring a lot of unnecessary problems in the family.

Echoing his view, another user said a man should only wed a second wife if he knows for sure that he can treat both with complete fairness and justice.

Samia Al-Dandashi looked at it from a different way. She believes if men marry up to four wives and each wife has an average of eight children, the country will face an overpopulation problem.

“Spinsterhood might be solved but the problem of a population swell will arise,” she said.

A study by the Ministry of Economy and Planning in 2011 showed that the number of spinsters who were over 30 stood at 1,529,418.

Makkah came first with the highest rate at 396,248 unmarried women and Riyadh and the Eastern Province came second and third with 327,427 and 228,093 respectively.

The study cited high dowries and hard economic conditions as the two common reasons why the spinsterhood rate was high in some parts of the Kingdom.



Some Saudi Women Defy Driving Ban In Day Of Protest

26 October 2013

Woman driver Mai al Swayan: "I went to the grocery shop near my house... I accept the risk"

A handful of Saudi women have taken to the streets in their cars on a day of collective protest against the ban on female drivers.

Several videos of women driving have been posted online despite official warnings that women who took part risked sanctions.

Some women received warning phone calls from men purporting to be from the interior ministry.

But one woman who took part said she had faced no reprisals.

"I went to the grocery shop near the house... there was a reporter with me," Mai al-Sawyan told the BBC from Riyadh.

"Personally I know three other women" who also drove, she said.

"No-one approached me," she said, adding she was hopeful that the ban would be lifted soon.

But one leading activist - the university lecturer Aziza al-Yousef - said she had decided not to take part in the protest drive after being called by the authorities.

Saturday's protest is the third of its kind since 1990, after which a number of women were arrested or lost their jobs.

Police guidance

About 17,000 people signed a petition calling either for women to be allowed to drive or for an explanation of why the prohibition should remain in force.

An interior ministry spokesman, Mansour al-Turki, considerably toughened the Saudi government line on the women drivers' campaign on Thursday.

Mr Turki explicitly restated that women were prohibited from driving, with violators - and their supporters - likely to face unspecified measures.

Some Saudi women who took part in the 1990 protest were arrested

A campaign activist, Zaki Safar, said that this was an unusually explicit statement of the ban, which is informal rather than enshrined in Saudi law.

The BBC has seen a document advising police on how to handle women drivers.

It suggests police take them into a side street. There police should issue them and their male guardians with a warning, and make them promise not to drive again.

The car keys should be given to the women's male guardians, the document says.

But the authorities' apparent failure to act to enforce the ban on Saturday has added to activists' conviction that the government is sending mixed messages as it is itself divided over whether to lift the ban.

Earlier this week, about 100 conservative clerics asked for an audience at the royal court in the capital, Riyadh, to denounce the campaign as a conspiracy by women and a threat to the country.

But there have been indications of a less hard-line attitude by the authorities than back in 1990, and at the second protest in 2011.

As part of the latest campaign, dozens of women have posted online videos of themselves driving in different Saudi cities. No-one has been arrested.

The activists behind the campaign believe the public mood is changing, with many more people - including an increasing number of men - publicly supporting the lifting of the ban.



Young Afghan Couple Beheaded and Dumped In Graveyard in Horrific Honour Killing

October 26, 2013

A young couple in conservative southern Afghanistan has been found beheaded, apparently killed for having a love affair outside of marriage, officials said Wednesday.

Police investigating the case said they believed the family of the woman, aged around 20, was responsible for the murders in the southern province of Helmand, a lawless hotbed of the Taliban insurgency.

The elder brother of the male victim, who was in his 20s, told officers the woman had run away with him recently and was living in their family home.

On Monday, 10 men broke into the house near the provincial capital Lashkar Gah and kidnapped the pair, police official Mohammad Ismail Hotak told AFP.

'On Tuesday, local residents reported that there were two bodies in the graveyard. We went there and found them. Both were beheaded,' he said.

'From our investigations, we have found that the two had a love affair. We believe the family and relatives of the girl are behind the killing.'

The police official said the brother told investigators the dead man had loved the woman and wanted to marry her.

Omar Zwak, the provincial governor's spokesman, confirmed the incident and said an investigation was under way.

Relations between young men and women outside marriage are taboo in Afghanistan, an extremely conservative nation with deep Islamic beliefs.

Most marriages are arranged by family elders, in some cases without the couples being consulted.

A man attempting to establish relations with a woman is seen as an insult to her family's honour and often leads to violent revenge.

In such cases, the woman is often also killed for supposedly bringing shame to the family.



‘Protection from Abuse’ Law in Saudi Arabia to Take Effect Next Week

 October 26, 2013

JEDDAH — All concerned bodies will begin applying the “Protection from abuse” law next week, Al-Madinah newspaper reported.

The law is the first of its kind in the Kingdom and will provide protection from all types of abuse and violence, and provide assistance, treatment, accommodation, social and psychiatric care to the victims and punish offenders.

The law requires that any abuse or violence cases be reported to the concerned authorities. Workers can report abuse cases to their employers who should in turn inform the Ministry of Social Affairs and the police.

The National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) has recommended that police stations be prepared and equipped to receive such cases and to employ specialists to provide the necessary protection and care to victims.

The head of the NSHR in Makkah, Sulaiman Al-Zaydee, said the society receives a number of abuse cases every day.

“The cases are reviewed and if children are involved, they are referred to the protection section of the Ministry of Social Affairs to provide the necessary care, while the case is referred to concerned security bodies for further action.”

An assistant at the education directorate in Al-Jamoum governorate, Lamya'a Bashawri, said the directorate has launched a child-assistance campaign through its number (116111), which is supervised by the family safety program.

The campaign seeks to educate students on the presence of a concerned body that will provide them with protection.

“The directorate will also conduct training for teachers and administrative personnel to provide them with the necessary information about the campaign, its goals and the procedures for reporting any abuse cases. The free phone number will serve children under 18 and provide them with necessary advice and solutions,” she explained.

Jameelah Al-Metani, an assistant at Makkah's educational directorate, said abuse against children is caused by social beliefs and wrong religious perceptions.

“The best solution is to admit the problem and provide the necessary legislation to protect victims. The media also needs to play a role in raising awareness among the public regarding abuse and violence,” she said.



Iceland best place to be a woman; Philippines ranks high in gender equality

 October 26, 2013

LONDON: The gap between men and women has narrowed slightly in the past year in most countries.

According to a World Economic Forum (WEF) report, Iceland, Finland and Norway top the list of 136 nations, based on political participation, economic equality and rights like education and health.

The Middle East and North Africa are the only regions not to improve in the past year, with Yemen at the bottom.

The Philippines and Nicaragua both feature in the top 10.

The WEF has produced the report annually for the past eight years.

Iceland’s position at the top of the WEF rankings was the fifth year in a row the country has been named the world’s most equal.

Report founder and coauthor Saadia Zahidi told the BBC that since the WEF began compiling the index in 2006, 80 percent of countries had made progress.

“What’s worrying though is that percent of countries have made no progress or are falling behind,” she said.

Nadia Al-Sakkaf, editor of the English-language Yemen Times, in London for the 100 Women conference, told the BBC that she had stopped counting the years her country had languished at the bottom of the equality list.

“It comes down to everyday life. We had three women running for president in 2006. We have lots of women in senior positions,” she said.

“But our levels of maternal mortality are very high, and 35 percent of girls aged 6-14 years old are not in school.”

Saadia Zahidi of the WEF said that by contrast many sub-Saharan countries had not invested in women, but through necessity they played a major role in the economy.

Nordic countries continued to lead the way because they had a long history of investing in people, she said.

“They are small economies with small populations; they recognize that talent matters, and that talent has to be men and women. The highest-ranked Asian nation is the Philippines (fifth), praised for its success in health, education and economic participation.

“Women make up one half of the human capital available to any economy and any company; if that talent isn’t integrated, that is going to be a loss for both women and men,” Zahidi said.



Rubana of Bangladesh among BBC’s 100 Women

October 26, 2013

Rubana Huq, a Bangladeshi entrepreneur, writer and philanthropist, has been selected to participate in BBC’s 100 Women conference.

Rubana is currently the managing director of Mohammadi Group and has written extensively on the RMG sector.

The BBC’s 100 Women programme has been running this whole month as a gesture to recognise ground-breaking works of women all over the world, further highlighting the numerous social and cultural challenges they face in their work.

On Friday, Rubana and the 99 other women from all across the world were scheduled to come together at BBC’s London headquarters for an entire day of debate and discussion.

Prior to this conference, in a letter addressed to her 99 peers, Rubana wrote of the plight of Bangladeshi garment workers: “Women in Bangladesh are survivors and we move on with hope.”

On her Facebook page, Rubana wrote that she was: “so looking forward to joining as one of BBC’s chosen 100 women global conversation on 25th Oct in London!”

The women who have been selected come from an array of professional fields including music, health, writing, and journalism.



Israeli Media Discriminate Against Women in Politics

 October 26, 2013

A group of women journalists has investigated for five months the attitude of the Israeli media toward women in politics, focusing on the 2013 Knesset elections. The investigation — so it was defined — tracked expressions of sexism, racism or both, in various media. The material was gathered mostly from newspapers, TV, radio talk shows and social networks.

The results reflect Israel’s media at its ugliest — sexist and racist, with its targets being especially women of Middle Eastern and North African origin. A special chapter is devoted to Knesset member Miri Regev of the Likud Party. The report will be presented Tuesday, Oct. 29, at a conference on "Strategies to Combat Racism."

The initiative for the study stemmed from Achoti, or Sister, a feminist movement devoted to the advancement of oriental Jewish women, and Shatil, an organization dedicated to promoting social change. The findings were collated by Dorit Abramovich, a social activist and one of the authors of the final report. In an interview with Al-Monitor, she revealed some of the findings for the first time.

This is not an academic study. It’s an investigation with predetermined findings. Do you not see this as a problem?

"No. We say clearly in the foreword that our viewpoint is subjective and critical toward a phenomenon which we define, but the media, too, have a subjective point of view. We wanted to focus attention on sexism and racism in the media, especially in the coverage of women politicians. We contended that during election campaigns, stereotypes are radicalized, which is why we concentrated on this period [of elections]."

But why mix sexism with racism?

"We thought it important to look into these two phenomena in tandem, because we knew that oftentimes they’re combined. Until now there was a tendency to investigate sexism in media coverage because such research was initiated by feminist organizations. We insisted on making the connection a priori and indeed, we found much evidence of this phenomenon. Often, those who engage in such coverage aren’t aware of the fact that it’s tainted by sexism and racism.

"This is reflected in the extent of coverage that women politicians receive and their visual portrayal in the media as marginal and weak, and in the case of [Middle Eastern- or North African-origin] politicians — also as dumb, ridiculous and ludicrous. We went over newspapers from the months of the campaign and found that photos of women politicians almost never appeared on front pages, and certainly not next to the main headlines. Generally, women appeared in caricatures or as part of general lists of candidates, next to men. We saw that when there was any sort of media debate about leading Arab women, it was generally superficial and lacking." 

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich appear in marginal contexts?

"These women would appear to hold key political positions, but Tzipi Livni is never regarded as an authority on defense issues, for example, despite her seniority. Yachimovich is a case of her own. During the election campaign, [Israeli TV] Channel 2 news showed her making meatballs and putting them in containers for freezing. After that she was interviewed on [Israeli leading news site] Ynet."

Wait a minute, wait a minute. She was the one who invited the media into her kitchen.

"That’s true, but what happened subsequently was out of her control. In Ynet’s coverage, the reporter went to her bookshelves, and that’s OK, too, but he chose to relate to two novels she wrote when she was a journalist. He said to her, 'You come out as a very stormy personality, even sexually.' Yachimovich explained that there’s a gap between reality and the character in the book, but this doesn’t satisfy the reporter, who asks once more: 'Should the reader conclude that Yachimovich is a sexual being?’ This is a sexist question and a sexist portrayal of Yachimovich."

You devote an entire chapter to Knesset member Miri Regev and find that she’s a victim of both sexism and racism. Explain.

"Miri Regev embodies the distinct combination of these two elements. It’s true that she made racist remarks toward migrant workers, with which I disagree, but notice what happened. No one in the media argued with her remarks in a matter-of-fact manner. If a man had said these same things, he would have been labeled a racist, a danger. But when Miri Regev says such things, all the criticism disappears and she is portrayed as dumb — not even as racist.

"This is a recurring pattern any time there’s a woman of [Asian] origin or a Russian speaker, like Knesset member Anastassia Michaeli. Their supposed stupidity becomes the dominant factor. To describe them as dangerous is to grant them power. Bibi [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu], on the other hand, is portrayed by the left wing as being dangerous.

"Regev was wildly attacked on Facebook. She was nicknamed Miri Rekev [Hebrew for decay], she was portrayed as stupid and ugly. There was no business-like discussion. She was described like this in visual representations, too. During the campaign, the trend of insulting and derogatory expressions toward Regev on Facebook was more pronounced, especially by left-wingers. She was portrayed using all the racist stereotypes against [Asian] women: vulgar, laughing with her mouth wide open, and, of course, stupid and primitive."

You provide a variety of examples to explain the case of Regev. What is the example that best illustrates the attitude toward her?

"In January of 2013, Regev was interviewed on the Channel 2 program 'People.' It’s hard not to discern the cynical tone in the questions, and especially in the summation of the presenter, which were a superlative display of racism and sexism. The interviewer asks her: 'Miri Regev, there are people watching and saying, this is not what we want to see. This is not the parliament we want to see.’

"We are asking: who are these anonymous people whom the interviewer represents? Why doesn’t he just say white, Ashkenazi [of European origin], leftist men, or in one word, myself?"

In fact, you argue that in the Israeli media, the situation of Miri Regev, who is both a woman and a Jew of Middle Eastern origin, is grimmer than that of Knesset member Haneen Zoabi, who is an Arab woman. Is it that bad?

"The attitude toward Zoabi is, of course, also sexist. Often, people didn’t even know how to pronounce her name, or they asked and commented numerous times on her being single. But unlike the case with Regev, they argued with Zoabi. She was said to be dangerous. No one argued with Regev. They simply said she was stupid and vulgar and in that sense, her situation is much worse."

Where were you most surprised to see this phenomenon?

"In newspaper opinion columns. On the editorial pages, the under-representation of women is very pronounced. Most columnists are men, and there is no representation of women from ethnic minorities, instead of it being the other way around. This is the intellectual space of the media and the place to express opinions."

Mazal Mualem is a columnist for Al-Monitor and formerly a chief political analyst for Maariv and Haaretz. She also previously worked for Bamachane, the Israeli army's weekly newspaper.



WLC Welcomes Muslim Marriage Ruling

 October 26, 2013

The Women's Legal Centre (WLC) welcomed a ruling on Friday by the High Court in Cape Town recognising a woman married through Muslim rites as her late husband's legal spouse.

"This judgment is a step forward in having Muslim marriages legally recognised," WLC director Jennifer Williams said in a statement.

The case involved a woman who married a Muslim man in a ceremony which was not officiated by a marriage officer. This meant that in terms of civil law, the couple was not married.

The husband subsequently annulled the marriage under Islamic rite, but the couple later resumed sexual relations. According to the tenets of Islam, this meant that the annulment, called a Talaq, was no longer valid.

The man died on March 4, 2010, months after the couple's second child was born. The man's adult son from a prior marriage then forced the woman out of their home.

The woman was initially made executrix of the man's estate, but the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) issued a certificate declaring that the marriage had been annulled.

The husband's daughter from a prior marriage appointed an attorney as executrix of the estate.

The MJC later issued a letter in which it said new evidence had come to light indicating that the couple was married at the time of the man's death.

The attorney then obtained affidavits from the man's son, denying that the couple had reconciled.

The widow approached the court seeking, among other things, to be recognised as the man's legal spouse and for the attorney to be removed as executrix of the estate.

The court ruled on Friday that the woman be granted the status of legal spouse and the attorney be removed as executrix, with no entitlement to remuneration.

The court found there had been considerable delays in the promulgation of the Muslim Marriages Bill, dealing with the legal intricacies of such marriages.

However, it was believed that the bill, in its current form, would soon be placed on the legislative programme.

Williams said: " The passing of the Muslim Marriages Bill is long overdue, and it is, more often than not, women and children who suffer due to the state's failure to pass the law.

"This judgment is a step forward in having Muslim Marriages legally recognised," she said.



Bangladeshi women find careers as drivers

 October 26, 2013

With the help of the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) and a local non-governmental organisation (NGO), Bangladeshi women are finding new opportunities to earn a steady income as professional drivers.

"After completing the training from BRAC driving school, I attended the examination of BRTA and got the driving licence within two months," driver Seema Dibra, 19, told Khabar South Asia.

''It is easy to get a government, non-government or private job for a women driver," she said. "I already got two non-government jobs within one year."

"When I started my journey as a driver, some people teased me," Dibra added. "Our society is male-dominated and the religious fundamentalists don't like the freedom of women. But I don't bother them."

Changing times

Bangladesh is a moderate Muslim nation where women work alongside men in many offices and factories, but driving is still a preserve for men. Increasingly, however, women are showing interest in driving as a profession.

Laizu Akhter is something of a pioneer. In 2005, she moved to Dhaka from her native village in southern Gournadi subdistrict in hopes of increasing her family's meagre income. Despite resistance from her husband and in-laws, Akhter enrolled in a driving school.

"Now my husband and my family take pride in my job. I'm not only bringing an income to my family, but some women of my locality are also being inspired to take up driving as a profession," Akhter told Khabar. She works as a driver for a foreign-based non-government organization (NGO) in Dhaka.

Now, BRTA has teamed up with the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), the largest NGO in the world, to train 600 women drivers, in part to fill a 15% quota of jobs reserved for women in the government transport pool.

"We don't have any separate project to train women and that's why we have teamed up with BRAC to launch the programme," BRTA chairman Nazrul Islam told Khabar.

"We're hoping the new initiative will help us get skilled women applicants to meet the quota," Islam said.

According to BRAC, its training centre has been in operation since May 2012, and has trained 75 women thus far. Of these, 18 already have full-time employment.

"It costs us nearly Tk 80,000 ($1,000) to train a woman driver," S.N. Koiri, chief financial officer of BRAC, told Khabar. "We'll take our next course of action after completion of the training of 600 women with BRTA."

Breaking barriers

On September 1st, the fourth batch of women graduates from the BRTA-BRAC initiative – 15 of them – were awarded certificates after completing their seven-week training period.

"It's truly heart-lifting to see that despite threats from religious extremists and bigots, more and more women are coming forward to take up driving as a profession," said attendee Rokeya Afzal Rahman, who was women affairs adviser to the caretaker government in 2007-2009.

"It further demonstrates that despite being practicing Muslims, Bangladeshi women do not hesitate to take up any challenge and refuse to be cowed by fundamentalists who want to confine them within the four walls of their homes," she said.



Qatari Shaikha Named ‘Biggest Player in Art World’

 October 26, 2013

London: The sister of the Emir of Qatar was named the most influential figure in the art world in a “power list” published by Britain’s Art Review magazine on Thursday.

Shaikha Mayassa Bint Hamad Al Thani has around $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) a year to spend on art as head of the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), according to ArtReview — 30 times more than New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

“No wonder, then, that whenever Shaikha Mayassa is in town, everyone from government ministers to mayors queue up to pay their respects,” the magazine said as it published its annual “Power 100” ranking.

China’s Ai Weiwei, who topped the list last year, is the highest-ranked artist for 2013, coming in ninth place.

But Shaikha Mayassa, who climbed the list after coming in 11th place last year, came first because of her “sheer buying power”, ArtReview said.

The QMA bought French post-Impressionist Paul Cezanne’s masterpiece “The Card Players” for $250 million last year, making it the most expensive painting sold to date.

“If and when Doha finds it has bought enough art, there’s going to be a hole in the market that no one else can fill,” ArtReview said.

The wealthy Gulf state, which has just 1.5 million inhabitants, is trying to establish itself as the region’s cultural hub.

It runs several museums and galleries in Qatar including the Museum of Islamic Art, the largest of its kind in the region.

German-born art dealer David Zwirner, who owns galleries in New York, came in second place in ArtReview’s 2013 ranking while Swiss dealer Iwan Wirth came third.



Pakistan: ‘Women Farmers Can Help Tackle Food Insecurity’

 October 26, 2013

FAISALABAD: “The role of women in promoting modern agricultural practices can tackle food insecurity and malnutrition affecting 58 per cent of the country’s population,” University of Agriculture, Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Iqrar Ahmed Khan said on Friday.

He was speaking at a seminar, Improving Female Farmers’ Skills to Enhance Food Production, organised by the Department of Rural Sociology at the UAF.

The VC said agriculture was directly linked with poverty and hunger alleviation.

He lauded women farmers who, in addition to looking after their households, worked in the farms.

“The Punjab has a rich culture and traditions which must be promoted at university level.” This, he said, could give the rural population a better understanding of how to use knowledge to improve goods and services.

Khan said he was of the view that Pakistan was facing threats from food insecurity and depleting natural resources. “In this scenario, greater efforts, on the part of all stakeholders, are needed to fight the crises… We need to ensure women play their role,” he said.

The VC said the UAF and the International Centre for Development and Decent Work (ICDD) had launched a provide livelihoods to farmers.

Farmer Rukhsana Zafar said women farmers could increase their income manifold by applying latest agriculture practices.

“Increased production will not only help them but will also ensure food security,” she said.

Department Chairman Ashfaq Ahmad Maan said the country could not progress without contributions from women.

Agriculture Development Bank’s (ADB) Kanwal Mukhtar said the bank was offering several types of loans to farmers.

Dr Arshad Waseem said Pakistan’s population would reach 204 million by 2015. He said tunnel farming could help farmers increase their profits by Rs300,000 to Rs500,000 per acre annually.

Dr Fawad Ahmad, Naveed Farah, Rashid Waseem, Dr Yaqeeb, and Izhar Ahmad Khan also spoke on the occasion.

The seminar was a part of the four-day Rabi Festival at that UAF that opened on Thursday. The event is meant to serve as a platform where farmers, researchers, teachers, industrialists, entrepreneurs, policy makers and students can interact.

It will go on till October 27th.



FEMEN opens Turkey office

October 26, 2013

Activist group FEMEN has opened a Turkey branch, announcing the news via its social media accounts accompanied by an image of a woman with a Turkish flag painted on her bare breasts.

“We announce that FEMEN Turkey office is opened ! Join Güntülü, and fight for the democracy in your country,” said the group on its Twitter account on Oct. 25.

The group also released another picture of the girl, named Güntülü, to protest against the removal of hundreds of trees for a road construction passing through the campus of Ankara’s Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ). FEMEN had previously held several protests in Turkey and signaled earlier that its Turkey office would be opened.

Ukrainian FEMEN activists were taken into custody on March 1, 2012, as they attempted to stage their trademark topless demonstration in Istanbul to draw attention to violence against women.

FEMEN is a Ukrainian protest group founded in 2008 and based in Kiev. The organization became internationally known for organizing topless protests against sex tourists, international marriage agencies, sexism and other social, national and international ills.