Saudi Arabia's female judo entrant in the London Olympics is to compete without a hijab. The controversial ruling, made by the International Judo Federation, defies an earlier Saudi edict that female competitors should adhere to the Islamic dress code.
Following Saudi Arabia's decision to lift the ban on women competing in the London Olympics, the conservative Muslim Kingdom is to be represented by two female competitors.
The controversial ruling to prohibit female judo competitors from wearing a hijab was announced by the International Judo Federation (IJF) President Marius Vizer. Alarabiya reported Vizer said that Saudi's Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani "will fight according to the principle and spirit of judo, so without a hijab."
The IJF has previously allowed female competitors to wear headscarves according to CBS News. Federation spokesman Nicolas Messner defended the change by citing safety concerns. He said "In judo we use strangleholds and chokeholds so the hijab could be dangerous. The only difference between competitors should be their level of judo.”
The IJF ruling could jeopardize Shaherkani's participation in the Games if conservative hardliners in the Kingdom forbid the move. Hard line clerics hold the view "that female sports constitute 'steps of the devil' that will encourage immorality and reduce women's chances of meeting the requirements for marriage."