Muslim Women's Participation in Olympics a First for Many Countries

August 19, 2004

Source: Trinidad & Tobago Express/Los Angeles Times

On August 19, 2004 the Los Angeles Times reported, "A record number of Muslim women are representing their countries this year in Athens, nearly every one of them overcoming unimaginable hardships. Some endure death threats for exposing their legs to foreign men; others prepare for this day without the mats, shoes or other equipment that would be standard in any US or European elementary school, much less the gymnasiums that produce world-class competitors. And many of the women struggle to find ways to balance their desire to obey Islam's requirements for modesty with the ability to maintain a competitive edge. In contrast to perceptions in the West, many say their societies wholeheartedly encourage their participation in sports." The article went on to give more detailed information about female athletes from Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan and Palestine.