Saudi Education Ministry: Islam Allows Girls to Participate in Sports

Although there are many clerics opposed to girls' participation in sports, the spokesman for the Saudi Education Ministry stated that Islam allows girls to participate provided they abide by Islamic law. This has been interpreted to mean that girls must dress appropriately, cannot participate with boys nor be seen by males when participating in sporting events. (The first two Saudi female Olympic athletes were not shown competing during the London 2012 Olympics broadcast in Saudi Arabia.) Because powerful clerics state protecting women from harassment means they cannot compete in sports and must avoid public roles, sports will be available only to those girls attending private schools.

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