At the Asian Games, Qatari men are flocking to the women’s beach volleyball venue despite a warning by an Islamic scholar about the dangers of watching hot, sweaty women compete:
Qatar, the first Arab country to host the Games, has a conservative society unaccustomed to hosting competitions where scantily-clad sportswomen compete.
A Qatari man watches beach volleyball played between Japan and Iraq during the 15th Asian Games compettion in Doha Saturday, Dec. 2, 2006. Beach volleyball’s penchant for bikinis has touched off a bit of a cultural clash in this conservative Muslim city. (AP)
The novelty has attracted hundreds of spectators comprising many Qatari nationals, prompting Islamic scholar Yousuf Al Qaradawi to immediately issue some general guidelines.
“Islam encourages everybody to practice sports and maintain physical fitness,” said the imam addressing worshippers at the Omar Bin Al Khattab mosque on Friday.
“However, while Islam does not prohibit women taking part in sports such events should be held in places where men cannot see them and the matches should not be telecast in a way that allows men to see the sportswomen,” he was quoted as saying by local daily Gulf Times.
The call remained unheeded as men of all nationalities flocked to Sports City where teams of women fought for a medal in the beach volleyball competition.
Lisa and Lida Agasi from Iraq, the only Arab country competing in the discipline with a female team, made headlines by donning tight shorts and tops.
“It is the first time the majority of Qatari and expatriate men, especially from conservative Muslim countries, have had the chance to watch women sweating in a sports competition, let alone watching women who are barely dressed. Their curiosity is obvious,” said an official at the Doha Asian Games Organising Committee.
Qataris who came to watch the volleyball matches were too shy to bring their wives along, an agency reported.
“We don’t see this a lot in Qatar… I think most people think it is outrageous. But we accept it because it is important for our country,” Salim Al Nabit, a Qatari spectator told AP.
Japan’s Satoko Urata returns the ball during the 15th Asian Games beach volleyball compettion. (Yahoo)
While Al Nabit watched the volleyball under sufferance to show that Qatar accepts others’ ways and views, his country’s women made history by winning the country’s first two medals.
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Iraq was the only Muslim country to enter a women’s team in the competition.
The Jawa Report has several more shots from the v-ball venue.