In 1978, as Amara was 14, her brother Malik was run down by a reckless driver. He died of his injuries after a few hours. Fadela was appalled to see the police side with the driver at the scene of the incident .
Amara participated in the first demonstration aimed at encouraging electoral registration among the young people of Clermont-Ferrand. When she was 16 years old, the municipal authorities decided to demolish the district she lived in. She went from door to door canvassing support for its retention. At th age of 18, she established the Association des femmes pour l'échange intercommunautaire (Women's Association for Intercommunal Exchange), a fledgling example of Islamic feminism, with the aim of developing women's autonomy and individual thought through meetings between neighbouring communities.
In 1983 she took part in a mass demonstration of the Beurs (French of North African origin), and from 1986 on she was an activist within the civil rights organisation SOS Racisme. In 2000 she was elected president of the Fédération nationale des maisons des potes (FNMP). In 1989 she established the Women's Commission, whose principal objective was to investigate the position of women in urban and suburban areas and register the demands of those communities.
After the 2002 murder of 17 year old Sohanne Benziane, she organised a march from the murder site beneath a banner declaring the women Ni Putes, Ni Soumises (neither whores, nor submissives). The motto stuck and became the name of the resulting organisation, of which she became the president.
In 2002 she organised a "women's parliament" in the Sorbonne with over 250 participants, drew up a petition which gained almost 20,000 signatures, and organised a nationwide tour of Ni Putes Ni Soumises, which finished in Paris on 8 March 2003.
She was active in supporting the expulsion from French secondary schools of young women wearing the muslim headscarf, and in supporting the 2003 law on this question.
On June 19, 2007, although still a member and a municipal councillor of the Socialist Party, she was appointed Secretary of State for Urban Policies in the 2nd UMP government of French Prime Minister François Fillon. She reports to Housing Minister Christine Boutin.
On the August 1, 2007, she launched her blog titled "Pour ma ville" (For my town).