Friday, August 3, 2012

A Shame

No knock on the two Saudi athletes but a huge knock on the country. Saudi Arabia should be internationally condemned and ostracized for the way they treat women but with a hefty stock of black gold it'll never happen.

Don’t be misled by news that Saudi women are competing in the Olympics this summer. The truth is that the participation of the two women athletes is little more than a sideshow, a distraction from the challenges faced by millions of other women back home in the kingdom, where the government continues to enforce the Wahhabi Islamic doctrine that just as man must obey Allah, woman must obey man. The attempted diversion is very cynical—and very Saudi. As this story went to press, in fact, the Saudi women’s presence in London hadn’t even been mentioned in the state-controlled media. Too many conservative Saudis would have objected... 
...This year’s two-woman team needed a special invitation from the International Olympic Committee because Saudi Arabia failed to hold any qualifying trials for women. In fact, physical education is banned in most girls’ schools. Some international schools do have teams for girls, but religious authorities often shut down their competitions even when the only spectators are females. Women’s sports are generally regarded as a waste of time at best—and at worst, a slippery slope to decadence. For one thing, athletic clothing is considered immodest. But worse yet, sports somehow might lead to the mixing of unrelated men and women—a terrible sin in the eyes of the kingdom’s conservatives.
Reminds me of the list of activities in my hotel the one and hopefully only time I visited Saudi Arabia...

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