Top Menu

Olympics: International Judo Federation Lifts Ban on Saudi Competitor Wearing Hijab


Olympics: International Judo Federation lifts ban on Saudi competitor wearing hijab

A female Saudi fighter will take part in the Olympic judo competition after being allowed to wear an Islamic headscarf, or hijab, of a specific design.

Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani is one of only two Saudi women to travel to London after the International Olympic Committee lobbied the conservative Islamic kingdom to end its refusal to send women to the Games.

But she had said she would only compete if she was allowed to wear the hijab, and judo officials refused, saying it would be dangerous.

A Saudi National Olympic Committee spokeswoman said the committee, the IOC and the International Judo Federation had now agreed on an acceptable form for the headscarf.

“They agreed on a design and she will compete wearing this design,” Razan Baker said, adding that she did not know how this design looked.

IJF spokesman Nicolas Messner confirmed that Shaherkani would compete, but declined to give further details.

The IOC this year successfully pressed Saudi Arabia and fellow Muslim nations Qatar and Brunei, the last three countries to refuse to send women to the Olympics, to end their bans.

The Saudi decision to send Shaherkani and teenage 800-metre runner Sarah Attar was praised by IOC President Jacques Rogge at the time. Shaherkani is due to compete in the heavyweight category on Friday.

The IJF’s regulations for the Olympic Games state that no headgear can be worn, and the federation says there could be a danger to fighters if a hijab is inadvertently used for an otherwise legal strangulation grip.

Reuters, 31 July 2012

Over at Jihad Watch Robert Spencer predictably denounces “the relentlessly dhimmi IOC”

, , , , , , , ,

  • Géji

    @Steve Says: “Geji, I don’t hate muslim women at all, I am not the one abusing muslim women and restricting them”

    Niqabi women Steve? have you already forget you stated wanting to restrict them even from your own tongue?

  • Sir David ( Illuminati membership number 5:32) Warning Contains Irony

    I would pay to see her and “steve ” fight . After he called her fat 😉

    Sir David

  • HGG

    This sure went long enough.

    I understand Steve’s point, and in the past I have sometimes agreed with it. But going on and on about this and how we’re now imposing ‘Saudi Arabia standards’ is a bit on the silly side. The non-cynical side of the Olympics is to promote sports and understanding between cultures (unless there is a Cold War going on, I suppose) so modifying the rules a slight bit in following that purpose is honorable and understandable. If the OIC decided for whatever reason that every female athlete had to cover like that I would join the outrage, but now I’m glad that athlete got to participate.

    Also, for those calling her ‘fat’, Judokas are a bit on the heavier side. And she would probably wipe the floor with most of us.

  • Meryem

    Wojdan Shaherkani fought her judo match. Unfortunately she didn’t win but this is what she wore:

    I think it is a good compromise.

  • Just Stopping By

    @Meryem: “arguing for 1 law for all is considered hatred…”

    I think you may be overgeneralizing a bit. The problem with this rule was that it was written by one group without consideration of how it would affect everyone, something that has now been brought to their attention. The new rule can be thought of as a general principle that anyone who needs to wear additional clothing should be able to do so as long as that does not pose a safety risk, provide a competitive benefit, or interfere with the competition. So, it is still one law for all, just a law that works for more people.

    @Steve: What if the original rule were that women had to compete topless? Would you object to an American woman asking to wear some sort of shirt because that would not be in accordance with the original rule?

  • Meryem

    @Steve arguing for 1 law for all is considered hatred because you are excluding certain people. There are Muslims out there, believe it or not, that you are unaware of in your closed off little perfect, world that wear the hijab by choice that happen to be talented athletes. Not allowing them to compete in hijab, is excluding them from competing at all because they will not compete without it.

  • George Carty

    Actually, Richard Dawkins is pretty much an equal-opportunity religion-hater, but he probably thinks that Islam is the biggest threat for two reasons:

    1) The average Muslim is far more devout than the average adherent of most other religions, and
    2) Islam is in some ways more rational than the other Abrahamic faiths, which (at least if Islam was not viewed so strongly as an ethnic minority religion) may make it more likely to convert atheists and agnostics.

  • Steve

    I don’t see how arguing for one law for all is a symptom of hatred.

    How is Richard Dawkins a muslim hater?

  • Khushboo

    Steve, you’re prejudging. You haven’t even seen it. “It’s a hijab of a specific design” that’s allowed. If it was that easy to pull off, then they wouldn’t allow it. That’s sweet of you to worry about her though. :/

  • Steve

    Is it a hate site? If so I apologise, it was linked elsewhere.

  • Steve

    Interestingly there was a protest by a feminist group about Saudi Arabia’s participation in the Olympics despite its gender apartheid policies. Here is a speech from the protest

    [Snipped: links to hate sites are not allowed.]

  • Steve

    @Khusboo, I can’t say I know a great deal about Judo but what would the situation be if her opponent pulled her head scarf off?

    I don’t believe international sport rules should be changed to accommodate items of previously disallowed clothing which are entirely down to an individuals personal choice.

  • khushboo


    Rules are always changing to accomodate all kinds of people as long as it doesn’t affect others. Why does this bother you so much? This change is not just for her but for all those who wear hijab. People underepresented can finally join! This is great news!

  • Steve

    @NurAlia, it took s a lot of lobbying to persuade Saudi Arabia to let women compete at the Olympics and many Saudia still don’t like if the abuse this woman has received from some people in that benighted country is any indication.

    I wouldn’t say the strictures of Saudi Arabia are part of a global and universal set of standards, if they are we are all in deep trouble. Saudi Arabia should be moving towards accepted standards of equality, any move to Saudi Arabia’s standards is a retrograde step.

    I am happy this woman is competing, I don’t like rules being changed to accommodate one persons personal choice of headwear. That is all.

  • Octane

    Its an international event you know lots of different non white countries taking you beyond your own ethnocentric beliefs. Therefore it involves you guessed it countries and cultures around the world. Which means it has to be all inclusive. That’s the point.

    Sports like anything else evolves. I guess people like Steve are upset they changed the rules for Baseball and other sports and let African Americans play. Since well heck that was a pretty serious rule change from whites only.

    My 2 cents from the deep blue.

  • NurAlia


    Steve has the same problem as Mr Romney so beautifully expressed in his description of the difference between the economy of the Palistinians and the Israelis.

    Ignoring ALL other factors that contributes to the disparity, Romney claims that ‘culture’ is the only reason.

    Steve is seeing that his ‘culture’ is simply being displaced by a more global and universal set of standards. The woman from Saudi Arabia asking of she can wear a headscarf in compitition is a sign to him that his way is no longer the norm. The headgear of this woman is like an anti (his culture) flag, and it represents his fear of change.

    I personally do not belive that Steve hates Muslims, or this woman. Steve, along with the other Islamophobes, are clinging to last hope, that thier ‘cultural purity’ will at least hold until they die.

    I think those of us who are Muslim should not take thier feelings personally…because they are like a punch drunk fighter still beliving they are in the fight as he lay on the canvas, punching at air hoping someone will put thier face close enough to get hit.

    Let us Muslims not put our faces close.

  • NurAlia

    Steve complains that one woman has the power to change the rules of a sport to comply to Sauri Arabia’s rules/

    Steve has totally missed the point that the world (that is the rest of humanity) has asked Saudi Arabia to join us, and let Saudi women particpate in the global society…in this case…sport. The Saudis have captituated on the side of women’s rights, and human rights, and opened thier society to us in the form of athletes.

    Understand too Steve, that none of the women, including those from free nations have a choice in what they are wearing. They MUST wear the team uniform…and this women in particualar…spoke out to be just a little different. She asserted herself enough to ask the ICC if she can wear her headscarf as a part of her uniform in compitition.

    You…claiming to be a person of independance, should look at her as an example of independance…and be happy that she spoke up.

    As I have said before…the rules are changing, and not just for sport. I think this is something you have to get used to…or simply be left behind.

  • jawad

    Steve has a problem w/ this muslim woman wanting to wear hijaab and the olympic committee allowing that??

    Im so surprised.

  • khushboo

    Because we’re a diverse group Steve, not monolithic; Just like some Jews have big differences in opinion about Jesus and not all are Orthodox. Some Christians believe in trinity and others don’t. Some Sikhs cover their heads and some don’t.

    As for the Quran, many Muslims believe covering your head and neck is in Surah Nissa where others believe it mentions covering bosom only. There are those who don’t cover their heads even though they believe it’s in the Quran. There are many who don’t go by what’s in their Holy book. That’s nothing new Steve.

  • Meryem

    And tell the believing women that they (also) should restrain their gaze (from looking at the men whom it is lawful for them to marry, and from others’ private parts), and guard their private parts, and that they should not display their charms except that which is revealed of itself; and let them draw their veils over their bosoms, and (tell them) not to display their charms to any save their husbands, or their fathers (and grandfathers and both paternal and maternal uncles), or the fathers of their husbands, or their sons, or the sons of their husbands (both their own and step-sons and grandsons), or their brothers (and foster- and step-brothers), or the sons of their brothers, or the sons of their sisters, or the Muslim women and the women of good conduct with whom they associate, or those (slave-girls) their right hands possess, or the male attendants in their service free of sexual desire, or children that are as yet unaware of femininity. Nor should they stamp their feet (i.e. act in such a manner as to) draw attention to their charms (and arouse the passion of men). And O believers, turn to God all together in repentance that you may attain true prosperity. Quran 24:31

    Although hijab is required in Islam it is ultimately the woman’s choice to do so. Many of the female Muslim athletes may choose not to. However there are some who do and they should be allowed to wear it while competing.

  • Steve

    This page has a list of muslim women at the Olympics. Curiously many of them don’t appear to be wearing headscarves.

    Where in the koran does it say a woman has to wear a headscarf

  • Meryem

    @Steve you said you are not restricting Muslim women. By forbidding them to compete in hijab then you are restricting them. Why does it bother you so much what she is wearing on her head? It doesn’t affect you and it isn’t hurting you! Islamophobic bigots like you make me so angry! Why do you care what a Muslim woman wears?

Powered by Loon Watchers