Posted by: bahareiran | December 11, 2010

Iran president, clerics battle over women’s sports

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, December 6, 2010 – AP,  TEHRAN, Iran — A senior Muslim cleric has denounced the participation of Iranian women in the Asian Games, calling it a humiliation and saying women’s sports are a product of the West’s “dirty” culture that should be shunned.

As he has done in the past, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took the opposite view – one shared by most Iranians – and praised female athletes from Iran who won medals in the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, which took place in November.

Iran’s strict Islamic rules forbid physical contact between unrelated men and women, and Iranian women are even barred from attending soccer games in which men’s teams are playing.

Although Iranian female athletes take part only in games where there is no physical contact with men, clerics are still opposed.

“That Muslim women get medals in sports games is no dignity but humiliation,” said Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Ali Safi Golpayegani, a prominent cleric in the holy city of Qom.

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