Just some time ago, there was news regarding the FIFA committee’s
decision on women wearing the headgear; they denied it. Last year when the
Iranian women were disqualified from the match because they wore headscarves,
the governing body was adamant that rules were to be abided by. This was a huge
disappointment as it crashed their dreams of making it to the summer Olympics.
There has been an ongoing struggle in the Islamic
communities and societies with the issue of female athletes wearing headscarves
but there seems to be no definite conclusion.
But slowly, the trend has been changing. Other Muslim Women athletes are now getting much better opportunities
of playing and competing, both in and out of the London Olympic Games. Brunei and Saudi Arabia
have decided to send their first team of female athletes to the big games this
From Brunei, there is a Maziah Mahusin, a sprinter, who will be representing in the
Olympics. On the other hand, the future king of Audi Arabia, Prince Nayef has
given allowance for Saudi women to compete in sports where the decency,
sentiments, teachings and principles do not conflict and/or hurt the Islamic
law. It is being reported that Dalma Rushdi Malhas may be the contender for
equestrian sports from the Saudi side.
It is not an easy debate or decision at all. There are
sentiments to be values, laws to be obeyed, rules to be cleared. This fragile
topic is more than just allowing the female athletes to play sport with or without
headgear. There is a world of history to be taken into consideration as well as
the present to be honored. There are human rights activists and political
leaders and the general population, in and out of the Islam world, trying to
figure out just what exactly is the ‘right’ thing to do.
Of course we cannot jump into the national level sports
right away either. There are schools and the everyday life where changes will
need to be taken into consideration. Just allowing the female athletes to
compete and disallowing school girls to play in schools would be no progress at
Norms are hard to change and sports does not rank high in
the priority list. But nevertheless any progress is still progress and it will
be by the actions of one nation that other communities will soon follow.