Saudi Arabia threaten to withdraw from Olympics over judo headscarf ban

Saudi Arabia have threatened to withdraw from the
London 2012 Olympic Games unless female judo
athlete Wujdan Shahrkhani is allowed to wear her
headscarf in competition.
The International Olympic Committee has organised
an urgent meeting with Saudi Arabia national
Olympic committee officials, the international judo
federation, and London Olympic organisers to try and
avert the Saudi withdrawal.
"Yes we have heard that the Saudis are not happy
and we will have an urgent meeting, certainly in the
next two days," an IOC spokesperson told Telegraph
The issue is particularly sensitive as the IOC
president Jacques Rogge had spent many months
attempting to ensure Saudi Arabian women were
participating in the London Games, despite initial
reticence by the Saudi royal family.
Saudi Arabia had been the only country which
appeared not to be sending any female athletes to
the Games.
But just weeks ago, the IOC announced that two
female athletes would represent Saudi Arabia at the
Games: Shahrkhani in judo and Sarah Attar in track
and field.
At the time the Saudis said the women could
compete only if they were allowed to wear
appropriate Muslim clothing.
However, those plans were thrown into chaos on
Thursday night when International judo Federation
president Marius Vizer said Shahrkhani could not fight
with a headscarf.
He said that the decision was a result of safety
concerns and also "according to the principles and
spirit of judo."
Judo spokesman Nicolas Messner said the hijab could
be dangerous because the sport involved
strangleholds and chokeholds.
However, judo federations within Asia have allowed
Muslim women to wear hijabs::

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