Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A Breeze of Change in Saudi Arabia........

By Saudi Arabian law, women were, until recently, not permitted to compete in the Olympic Games.However, following the International Olympic Committee pressuring the Saudi Olympic Committee to send female athletes to the 2012 Summer Olympics, in June 2012 the Saudi Embassy in London announced this had been agreed.

There had been calls for Saudi Arabia to be barred from the Olympics until it permitted women to compete - notably from Anita DeFrantz, chair of the International Olympic Committee's Women and Sports Commission, in 2010.In 2008, Ali Al-Ahmed, director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, likewise called for Saudi Arabia to be barred from the Games, describing its ban on women athletes as a violation of the International Olympic Committee charter. Stating that gender discrimination should be no more acceptable than racial discrimination, he noted: "For the last 15 years, many international nongovernmental organizations worldwide have been trying to lobby the IOC for better enforcement of its own laws banning gender discrimination. [...] While their efforts did result in increasing numbers of women Olympians, the IOC has been reluctant to take a strong position and threaten the discriminating countries with suspension or expulsion.

Dalma Rushdi Malhas cpmpeted the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympics and won a bronze medal in equestrian.
The appearance of Saudi Arabia's first female Olympic athletes at the Games' opening ceremony prompted a heated online debate on Saturday, with some conservative Islamists denouncing the women as shameless but many praising them.

Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani, who is to compete in the +78kg judo category, and 800 metre runner Sarah Attar marched behind the men in their national delegation during the ceremony in London on Friday.
Conservative Muslim clerics in Saudi Arabia oppose women's sport, arguing that it is immodest and goes against their nature. That view was reflected in Twitter postings including one under a hashtag that would translate as "Olympic_Whores".

"One should not hesitate to describe their participation as shameful and a great sin," Khaled al-Jabri, whose Twitter profile listed him as a Saudi from Jeddah, wrote on Saturday in one of thousands of postings on the subject that ran in the hours after the ceremony.

"Whores of the Olympics...They want to run so that they intentionally fall down and reveal (their figures)," said a tweeter under the name @mloven2100, who identified himself as a Saudi.

"I'm proud of Saudi women's participation in the Olympics," wrote Fahad al-Enzi, a member of a prominent Saudi tribe whose profile listed him as from Riyadh.

A woman who identified herself as Safaa, a Saudi, tweeted: "Women walking behind the Saudi delegation is historic. Next we'll be carrying the flag and walking side by side, equal."

Before this year Saudi Arabia was one of three countries, alongside Brunei and Qatar, never to have sent female athletes to the Olympics. The latter two confirmed earlier this year that their delegations would include women.

Saudi Arabia reached an agreement on the participation of Shaherkani and Attar just two weeks ago in talks with the International Olympic Committee. Human rights groups had urged the IOC to ban the country from the Games unless it agreed to send women.

Riyadh's decision followed a series of cautious steps expanding women's rights over the past 18 months. King Abdullah, who has a reputation as a reformer, last year announced plans to let women vote in municipal council elections and join the consultative Shoura Council.

And this is a “Jasmine Revolution” which has brought a change of mind towards the women of the Country atleast identifying then as individuals rather than as a group who were downtrodden and weak without even having any basic Rights as a Human Being.Let this prevail all over the Middle East so that the Countries get a new address of Freedom for Women infront of the world.

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