KOTA BARU: Kelantan will provide complimentary self-defence classes for women 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 competitions to select the best female exponents.
Self-defence skills are important, in view of the growing rate of crimes against women like rape, molestation and snatch thefts.
Nik Abdul Aziz also denied that he was against Muslim women being active in sports, saying women could participate, provided they wear Islamic attire such as the headscarf.
As long as navels are not exposed and they are clad in decent Islamic attire, there is no issue. During Prophet Muhammads era, he allowed his wives to fight on the battlefield.
He said he personally does not like women taking part in robust sports, but added: If Kelantanese women can qualify for the Olympics, why not? We should encourage it.
I want women here to become the torchbearers for Muslim women everywhere. 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 womens non-governmental organisation (NGO).
Nik Abdul Aziz said the Games was to show that Kelantan does not sideline women in sports, and to overcome adverse reporting by the mass media on the subject.
Around 500 female athletes participated in the two-day event, which included athletics, futsal and badminton.
Special guest at the event, Ruqaya Al-Ghasara, who wears a headscarf (hijab), said that she had never felt pressured to drop her Islamic attire.
I think they respect me for wearing the Islamic attire, the Bahraini athlete told reporters.
She said she felt honoured to be looked upon as an Islamic icon in the sporting world after winning the gold medal in the 200m event at the recent Asian Games in Qatar.