[Marxism] Iran pres. reverses ban on women attending soccer games

Mahmood Ketabchi mekchi at verizon.net
Wed Apr 26 22:57:33 MDT 2006

Iran clergy angry over women fans 
By Frances Harrison 
BBC correspondent in Tehran  

Iran's religious right is voicing growing opposition to a decision to let women to watch football matches for the first time since the 1979 revolution. 
Four grand ayatollahs and several MPs have protested against the move, saying it violates Islamic law for a woman to look at the body of a male stranger. 

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that stadiums would reserve special areas for women and families. 

The move was welcomed by women's rights groups which long contested the ban. 

Mr Ahmadinejad, who is regarded as an ultra conservative, lifted the male-spectators-only rule on Monday. 

It was a highly populist move in a country where both sexes love football and there is growing excitement about the World Cup. 

Bad language 

Members of the clergy say it is wrong for men and women to look at each other's bodies, even if they have no intention of taking pleasure from it. 

One MP said, if the reformists had tried this, there would have been suicide bombers protesting on the streets of Teheran. 
A hardline newspaper said the atmosphere in football stadiums was now so deplorable one should weep - a reference to the bad language and rowdy behaviour of male football fans here. 

It is this failure to control the male spectators that is often given as the main reason for not allowing women into football matches. 

Women can watch football broadcast on Iranian television and they can attend basketball and volleyball matches even though they too involve men dressed in shorts. 

Speaking on state-run television on Monday, Mr Ahmadinejad said he had ordered the head of Iran's Physical Education Committee to make sure women were adequately catered for during Iran's major sporting occasions. 

"The presence of women and families in public places promotes chastity," he said. 

"The best stands should be allocated to women and families in the stadiums in which national and important matches are being held." 

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