Sunday 25 March 2012

Saudi sportswomen knocking at Olympics door

The Jeddah United basketball team
The door to the participation of Saudi sportswomen in the London Olympics this summer, which Saudi Crown Prince Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz unlocked last week, is now opening inch by inch.
A statement by a Saudi religious scholar published today mirrors Prince Nayef’s approval last week of plans to send female athletes to the Olympics for the first time at the London Games so long as their events “meet the standards of women’s decency and don’t contradict Islamic laws.”
Jeddah United captain Lina al Maeena
The Saudi-owned electronic newspaper Elaph names the scholar as Dr. Saleh al-Sadlan, professor of Graduate Studies at the Sharia School of the Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University. Dr Hatem al–Awni, another renowned scholar of Hadeeth who teaches at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca and a member of the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia also known as Shura Council, had earlier spoken in the same vein.
Elaph also quotes Lina al-Maeena, captain of the first Saudi women’s basketball team “Jeddah United,” as hailing the drive for Saudi women participation in the London Games and suggesting the inclusion of women sports in school curriculum.
Maeena said several notable religious scholars had previously spoken in favor of women sports, naming among them Dr. Salman al Ouda, member of the European Fatwa Council, and Sheikh Adil al-Kalbani, a former imam of Masjid al-Haram.