Former nude activist: religion-free Egyptians should play part in politics

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Alia al-Mahdi, the Egyptian activist known for protesting nude, had urged the Egyptian interim presidency to include a representative for those who do not subscribe to any religion in the committee currently preparing the country’s constitution after the ouster of Islamist President Mohammad Mursi on July 3.

As Egypt is getting ready to formulate the new constitution, Mahdi was one of the signatory names in an electronic letter sent to interim President Adly Mansour requesting more freedom and rights for religion-free Egyptians, Elaph website reported Saturday.

“We are Egyptians with no religion, we left Christianity and Islam, and we want to be represented in the new constitution by having an official to represent us in the committee responsible to prepare the constitution, to obtain our rights as Egyptians,” she wrote.

The activists said Egyptians who do not adhere to a religion “represent a big segment in Egyptian society,” hailing them as having “[some] of the best brains, from professors, students, doctors, engineers, thinkers, artists, writers and pharmacists, inside and outside Egypt.”

She said it was her right, and others’ who do not uphold any religious beliefs, to partake in Egypt’s political process, whether that means becoming a member of parliament or running for presidency.

In late 2012, Mahdi caused uproar in Egypt after demonstrating nude against the country’s draft constitution when she participated in a protest by the International women’s movement FEMEN in Stockholm.

Mursi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice party, was criticized for presiding over a pro-Islamist constitution.

In the Stockholm protest, where Mahdi rose to fame, the activist appeared holding the Egyptian flag with writing on her body that read: “Sharia is not constitution.”

After the toppling of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mursi, many minorities in Egypt are asking to be involved in the formulation of the new constitution.

Elaph cited sources saying the presidency was taking into account such demands made by minorities in the country.