Hurdles Still Exist for Saudi Women Attending Olympics
After recent talks with Saudi Arabia, International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge described having females represent Saudi Arabia in the London Olympics as “not an easy situation.” Saudi Olympic Committee President Prince Nawaf bin Faisal does not approve of the country’s sending female athletes to the Games under a Saudi flag. Saudi Arabia, along with Qatar and Brunei, are the only countries that have never fielded women on their Olympic teams. Recently, Qatar announced it would send Nada Arkaji as its first female swimmer to represent the country.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Abdelmohsen al-Obeikan, an adviser to the royal cabinet, was dismissed in a royal decree without providing additional details. Al-Obeikan was an outspoken critic of the sexes mingling outside the home, and days prior to his dismissal revolved around comments made on a radio program about the mingling of men and women in court, which came under widespread condemnation.
In related news, Saudi Arabia religious police arrested 14 boys and girls who were involved in a noisy dancing party. “They were caught dancing and all of them were taken to the police station pending trial,” a police source said.