Somali Religious Council terms women’s basketball tournament ‘unIslamic’

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The national women’s basketball tournament that was scheduled to start on Thursday has been termed as “unIslamic” by the influential Somali Religious Council (SRC),  the privately owned Jowhar website reports.

The SRC chairman, Sheikh Bashir Ahmed Salat, is quoted as saying that the competition is against Islamic culture:

“We are warning against women’s games, it is something that Islam does not allow. It is not good for men to watch women clad in sporting attire, culturally and religiously. It is a shame.”

“This can cause destruction and suffering.”

The tournament is Somalia’s first national female basketball competition, with teams from all the five regional administrations and the capital, Mogadishu taking part.

The SRC is run by moderate clerics and preaches against the Islamist al-Shabab militant group which imposes strict rules on women’s behaviour and dress codes in the areas it rules.

Earlier this year, the council criticised a bill on women’s rights, which the UN-backed government took on board, making amendments.