Wednesday 30 July 2008
By Farah al-SweelSaudi Women Athletes who will not be allowed to participate in the 2008 Olympics due to lack of female rights under Shariah Laws.
Rashed al-Heraiwel, head of the Saudi delegation, confirmed no women would be in the lineup, apparently due to opposition by powerful clerics to women’s participation in sport.
A strict Islamic state, Saudi Arabia is one of the only countries to keep women out of international sports events, despite efforts in recent years to change the situation.
Three years ago, the Ministry of Education — where religious conservatives hold sway — rejected proposals to introduce physical education for girls in the school system.
Neighboring conservative Gulf Arab states have followed the path taken by many Muslim sportswomen such as Bahrain athlete Ruqaya Al-Ghasara who races in a full body-suit and headscarf.