Islamic Groups in Bangladesh Protest Women in Sports

Islamic groups and conservative clerics are campaigning against women’s participation in sports in Bangladesh. Most recently, the government of Bangladesh cancelled a women’s swimming competition after an Islamic group staged a protest made up of approximately 2,000 demonstrators. The leader of the protest argued that “swimming costumes expose part of women’s body, and that’s why it is derogatory for women. It also goes against the Islamic sense of decency,” reports Agence France Presse.

Four Bengali women were scheduled to compete in the 10-kilometer race. The men’s swimming competition is still scheduled to take place. In July, a women’s wrestling tournament was cancelled after similar protests, reports BBC News, while a women’s soccer competition still took place last month despite demonstrations.

Bangladesh is a predominately Muslim country, but it is governed by secular laws.

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BBC News 11/30/04; Agence France Presse 11/30/04; The Associated Press 11/30/04

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