KOTA BARU: Kelantan will provide complimentary self-defence classes for women here from next year in an effort to promote a healthy lifestyle as well as to protect them from rape.
Announcing this, Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat said that after several months of training, the state sports authorities will also hold various levels of competition to select the best female exponents.
“Self defence skills are most important now in view of a growing rate of crimes against women from rape, molestation to snatch thefts.”
Nik Abdul Aziz also denied that he was against Muslim women being active in sports, saying women can participate, provided they wear Islamic attire such as the “hijab” scarf.
“As long as navels are not exposed and they are clad in decent Islamic attire, there is no issue. During Prophet Muhammad’s era, he allowed his wives to fight on the battlefield.”
Personally he dislikes robust sports for women but he said that it would not encroach into his policy making decisions for the state and “ummah.”
“If Kelantanese women can qualify for the Olympics, why not? We should encourage it. However, if they are Muslims, they must don the proper attire. I want women here to become torch-bearers for Muslim women globally. Showcase the proper attire for Muslim women in sports,” he said after opening the inaugural Malaysian All-Women Games here on Saturday evening, jointly organised by Kelantan and Nisa, a Muslim women’s non-governmental organisation (NGO).
Nik Abdul Aziz said the Games was to demonstrate that Islam does not only exist in mosques but in sports too.
It was also to show that Kelantan does not sideline women in sports and to overcome adverse reporting by the mass media on the subject, he said.
Around 500 female athletes from throughout the country participated in the two-day sports event, which included athletics, futsal and badminton.
Bahrain Asian Games athletics star Ruqaya Al-Ghasara said that she never felt pressured to drop her Islamic attire despite her determination to succeed as a track star.
“Nobody pressured me and I think they respected me for my insistence to continue wearing the Islamic attire where I am covered from the forehead to my feet,” Ruqaya told a press conference.
She felt honoured to be looked upon as an Islamic icon in the sporting world following her success in winning gold at the 400-metre event.