With the summer Olympics fast approaching (and truly, what place says summer better than London), it was only natural that a bit of controversy would have to preface an event upon which the integrity of your otherwise boring country lies.
And who better to offer this controversy than Saudi Arabia?
Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch launched a campaign “Let Them Play” aimed to pressure the Kingdom into allowing female athletic participation in the upcoming Olympics. The campaign led to a bit of a media frenzy and even solicited a response from the Head of the Saudi Olympic Committee, Prince Nawaf Bin Faisal. According to a report made first by Al-Watan in April of this past year, Prince Nawaf made it clear that in accordance with (the Saudi government’s understanding of) shari’a and with respect to the sensibilities of Saudis around the world, women would not be allowed to participate in any official capacity in the Olympics. They could, however, participate unofficially. This came after the International Olympic Committee’s own assertion, in March, that it believed women would be allowed to participate at the games in London, which was based on Saudi presentation of the names of possible female athletes who could represent at the summer games. [Read more...]