As much as criticism has mounted in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, to be fair, it has been mostly directed at China’s deplorable human rights record, rather than the esteemed sporting affair.
However, for the Islamic lecturer and Saudi author, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Munajid, the Olympics are less about testing humankind’s endurance, than staging an event in which “no exposure of women’s private parts on a global scale could make Satan happier”.
The well-known Al-Munajid is a frequent feature on Saudi TV channels and has previously worked in Washington, D.C. at the Saudi Embassy Islamic Affairs Department, before he was stripped of his diplomatic credentials.
Al-Munajid is no novice when it comes to the call for sports-related fatwas: in a January 2005 interview, he said that soccer games “reveal nakedness,” adding that women must not exercise in public because they wear “tight fitting, short” outfits to do so, and also that women are forbidden from participating in the Olympics.
(Is it only me who thinks of Persepolis at this point?!)
Al-Munajid also discussed, in a July 2007 interview, how Western “beasts” use public toilets and wear colored underwear “to conceal all that filth.”
Truly, he seems a delectable gentleman and should I ever hold a dinner party, I would indubitably place his seating card next to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
I digress, however; in an interview conducted by Al-Majd TV on 10 August, 2008, Al-Munajid was highly critical of the Beijing Olympics, which he called the “bikini Olympics,” referring to them as “satanic.”
Below are a few snippets from his recent diatribe; to view the clip, click here:
Muhammad Al-Munajid: “How come modern sports – especially women’s sports – involve the exposure of private parts? It is well known that the Olympics – both in the past and the upcoming games… the world’s worst display of women’s clothing is the women’s Olympics. No exposure of women’s private parts on a global scale could make Satan happier than Olympic games that include women’s sports.”
Interviewer: “And in a scandalous manner…”
Muhammad Al-Munajid: “Yes. It is an enormous Satanic issue. Many people nowadays watch sports rather than participate in them.”
Interviewer: “And this is a problem…”
Muhammad Al-Munajid: “If only they would run or move their bodies a little… All they do is sit and watch the sports channels. Some fathers come to me and ask if it is permitted to hook up just to the sports channels. It is for the kids, they say. There is pressure. Football leads to temptation. It is not an innocent sport.
“Wrestling involves the exposure of women’s private parts. Even the promotion of the competitions is done by scantily clad women. This is done at the beginning of the match, in the middle, and at the end, or so I hear… the matches are promoted by half-naked women.
“Beijing or not… I call it Bikini, anyway… because they are likely to display women in the worst possible way in these ‘Bikini’ Olympic games.
“What women wear in the Olympic games are among the worst clothes possible. The inventions of Satan, with regard to the exposure of the body in gymnastics, in swimming, in whatever, in tennis… Women have never gotten naked for sports like they do in the Olympics. It is aired to billions of people worldwide. The problem is not just with the spectators who are present. The whole thing is aired on TV…”
Interviewer: “And maybe the men’s clothing is more modest than the women’s…”
Muhammad Al-Munajid: “There’s no ‘maybe’ about it. It is definite.”
I love the disclaiming “or so I hear”, while on a completely different tangent, the Interviewer seems oblivious to the concept of objectivity and clearly sees his role as an opportunity to stoke the fervid Al-Munajid into a frenzy.
As for Al-Munajid’s claim that the men’s outfits are more modest than the women, I have but two words from yesteryear that any woman raised in the 1990s will comprehend: Linford Christie.
Boy, was that a rude awakening to the male form…
[Image: Getty Images, Polish Volleyball Team]