After gymnast furore, Islamist group moots Jakim guidelines for sports

Malaysia's Farah Ann Abdul Hadi performs on the balance beam during the women's artistic gymnastics team final at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore, June 7, 2015. — Reuters pic
Malaysia's Farah Ann Abdul Hadi performs on the balance beam during the women's artistic gymnastics team final at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore, June 7, 2015. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 — The federal Islamic authorities should come out with a guideline for sports so Muslim women can stay Shariah-compliant, the female wing of National Muslim Youth Association (Pembina) said today.

Amid attacks against SEA Games gold medallist Farah Ann Abdul Hadi’s gymnastic attire, the student arm of Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) said Muslim women should stay away for activities or careers which are not Shariah-compliant.

“If Jakim had recently been able to provide a guideline for concerts in Malaysia, I am optimistic Jakim will be able to provide a guideline for sports next,” Pembina female wing chief Roszida Kamaruddin said on its website, using the acronym of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department.

Jakim recently introduced updated guidelines to entertainment which, among others, urges gender segregation among the audience, and prohibits humour that will provoke “excessive laughter”.

According to Jakim, the new list is meant to assist the authorities in ensuring that entertainment programmes are based on the Islamic faith and codes, and moral values.

Roszida accused many sports of trying to discard an athlete’s shame using nearly-naked attires, claiming that “gymnastics” originated from a Greek word which means “to exercise naked”.

“Gymnastics” comes from the Greek word “gymnastikos”, meaning “skilled in bodily exercise”. This, in turn, originated from the archaic Greek word “gymnos” which means “naked”, as athletes in ancient Greek competed without clothes.

“Women should not be stopped from sports, but they must priorities the Islamic codes in sports attire. Furthermore, there are many Muslim female athletes who succeed even by covering their aurat,” said Roszida, referring to the “intimate body parts” that Muslims must cover with clothing.

On Friday, Malay Mail Online reported of Muslims who attacked Farah for showing her “aurat” and the “shape of her vagina” in a leotard despite winning a gold medal at the SEA Games.

Several Facebook users slammed the 21-year-old Malay woman on Buletin TV3’s Facebook page that had uploaded Wednesday a photograph of her in the gymnastics outfit, along with a caption that announced her winning gold in floor exercise in artistic gymnastics.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had since defended Farah Ann, telling detractors that they have no right to judge her attire.

The double gold medallist had also fired back at her critics on Twitter: “Empty cans make the most noise.”

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