While virtually every place in the world is celebrating its returning athletes (well, except for Belorus, ha!) there’s one place that isn’t.
Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani returned to Saudi Arabia as the first woman to represent the Kingdom in judo, and was greeted not with cheers but a reception that “ranged from lukewarm to openly hostile.”
Her father, a judo referee who said he wanted his daughter to make "new history for Saudi's women," is reportedly incensed at conservative Saudis who showered her with racial slurs on Twitter and called her a “prostitute” for participating.
Clerics were already saying allowing women out in public was always going to end badly.
Dr. Mohammad al-Arifi, an influential cleric who preaches at Al-Bawardi Mosque in Riyadh, is on faculty at King Saud University, warned Prince Nawaf against sending Saudi women to the Olympics:
“Women practicing sports … is fundamentally allowed … but if this leads to mixing with men … or revealing private parts … or men watching her sometimes run, sometimes fall down … sometimes laugh and sometimes cry or quarrel with another female athlete … or mount a horse … or practice gymnastics … or wrestling … or other sports … while the cameras film and the [television] channels broadcast … then there can be no doubt that it is forbidden.”
Despite the objection of the author to whose story I’ve linked, this is entirely the work of Islam—a religion that views women as evil beings with such power to bring down their masculine superiors that they must be covered, cloistered and kept at heel.
Islam is evil.