The Arab Spring ushered in changes that have proceeded in some cases while being stifled in other situations. Aliaa Elmahdy, a young Egyptian girl dared the forces of religious rigidity during this moment in time and thus became a figure or courage to some while to others she represented all that is wrong among those refusing to adhere to voices of authority. She took a picture of herself while nude, and displayed it on the Internet to the consternation of her parents and religious forces in the Middle East. She was forced to flee Egypt and seek refuge in Sweden because to remain among religious folk meant brutality and, possibly death. Her father had spent years locking Aliaa inside the house to protect her virginity and to return home meant empowering her parents to set the destiny of her life.
She gave an interview to a German reporter from Der Spiegel in which this brave young woman made clear remaining in Egypt was not an option for anyone who might dear to reveal her body to the world. The Muslim world is still divided between those embracing the 21st century and those for whom the past is still their present. In one sense, the fight to free the human body to be in control of the individual is among the great conflicts for modern Islam. Sad, that a person’s decisions about body are the concern of clerics and parents and those who deny individual freedom to dress as one desires. We have not come a long way from the “hair wars” of the 1960s!