Via Saudi Gazette, an opinion piece from Al-Hayat: PE classes for girls a major sin: Hardline scholar.
For the first time a group of Shoura Council members has opposed a scholar and told him that the Council does not care about his opinions regarding physical education classes for girls in schools.
I do not understand why the scholar opposes such classes which will take place inside the walls of schools, not at King Fahd Stadium and not broadcast on giant global TV screens. Girls will exercise and engage in sports in front of other girls and female teachers and no one will be able to watch them through the walls.
However, it seems that those who oppose these classes are worried about other things, such as, where the girls would take off their school uniforms. Frankly speaking, I have spent night after night racking my brains trying to understand the mentality of such scholars. What do they mean where will girls take off their clothes? Of course, they will do that in the bathroom or the locker room. Why are some people obsessed with these questions? It is beyond me.
I salute the male members of the Shoura Council who have stood up for women’s rights and have asked the scholar to mind his own business.
This is, by the way, not the first time a hardline scholar has spoken against physical education classes for girls. I think the best way to deal with such people is to ignore them and pay no attention to what they say. Do you know why? Because the scholar who attacked these classes described them as a major sin. He even described the members of the Council as a group of men who hold higher academic degrees but know nothing about Shariah rules. He also asked the members to leave such issues for scholars because only scholars are competent to decide such matters.
This scholar has a more famous fatwa to his credit than the one on PE classes for girls. He once before called for killing the owners of satellite TV channels and also strongly opposed any attempt to develop the legal system in the country. He was the first to oppose merging the Ministry of Education for Boys’ Affairs with the Presidency of Girls’ Education. He attacked the decision to allow women to take photographs for IDs with their faces uncovered.
This scholar and others have the right to say what they want but they should not describe the nation’s development plans as major sins and sheer decadence.
A hundred years ago, it was a major sin to drink coffee in Saudi society. Today, it is a shame on you if someone visits you and you do not offer them a cup of coffee. Decades ago, girls were not allowed to go to school, but today it is a shame on you if you prevent your daughter from going to school.
And this in a country where 70% suffer from obesity and 24% from diabetes, and such underlying conditions put people at greater risk from diseases like MERS.