Islamist zealots have launched a battle cry against the first ever women's wrestling competition in Bangladesh, calling it "indecent".
Bangladesh took the initiative for the event as international bodies are trying to accelerate women's sports. But an Islamic group, "Jamiatul Ulama Islami Bangladesh", threatened to prevent the women's wrestling competition to be held Sunday.
Consequently, a worried Bangladesh Wrestling Federation shifted the competition to the Women Sports Complex from the National Sports Council gymnasium.
But that did not prevent the Islamic group from continuing its protests. It has now urged some pro-Islamic political outfits to join its efforts. Mohiuddin Khan, executive president of Jamiatul Ulama, declared a jihad against the women's wrestling competition and said if the government did not stop it, they would protest. "We are even ready to sacrifice our lives to stop any kind of indecent sports in the country," Mohiuddin told on Thursday.
In a statement, the organization demanded an immediate embargo on the competition, which, according to them, will hurt the religious feelings of millions of Muslims.
The wrestling federation, however, is firm in its decision to hold the daylong competition, where around 100 women from 11 districts are slated to compete in eight weight categories. "We have been asked by FILA, the world body for wrestling, to introduce the women's version of the competition in line with many other countries," said Tabiur Rahman, general secretary of the federation.
State Minister for Youth and Sports Fazlur Rahman said he had no idea about the conflict but believes it is unfair for an organization to threaten to thwart a sports event. "We have some obligations to international bodies to accelerate the women's event. Hence, different federations have taken different initiatives," he said.
Bangladesh's first women's wrestling competition was called off moments before the start Sunday following threats from Muslim fundamentalists who termed the event "vulgar and indecent." Tabiur Rahman, general secretary of the Bangladesh Amateur Wrestling Federation, announced the postponement but told The Associated Press, "we will organize it again in a few months time."