Allow youth to mingle

THE Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) Penang is greatly disturbed by the recent position taken in relation to the I-Dance street dancing competition in Penang.
State PAS Youth chief Mohamed Hafiz Mohd Nordin has been quoted as saying that "elements like shuffle dancing ... can lead to social ills amongst youngsters."
The response by the state government, as conveyed by the state youth and sport committee chairman Lydia Ong Kok Fooi has been to impose the condition that Muslim male and female participants are not allowed to mingle with each other during the competition.
It is sad and ironic that an activity such as street dancing, which has tremendous capacity to unite young people from diverse backgrounds and encourage interaction which can only enhance multiracial and multicultural unity should now be demonised as a potential source of social ill.
What is also disconcerting is the state government’s decision to segregate participants on the grounds of gender and religion. This move is an apparent compromise in relation to PAS’s earlier demands that no Muslim participant be allowed in the competition.
In a multicultural society, the characteristics of diversity must be promoted and valued as the strength of the society. The I-Dance is a healthy competition for youths of all races. On the basis of equality for all races, WCC calls for integration and not segregation. We cannot afford to segregate the youths based on gender as we move towards developing a human capital with first class mentality.
Source: http://www.sun2surf.com/article.cfm?id=28754


Muslim Women are Taking Part in Aqua-aerobic and Swimming Events

All these year’s Muslim females have faced the problem of finding an appropriate swimwear which adheres to the Koran, which requires a woman to cover everything except her face, hands and feet.The swimwears available in the market were either not targeted for the Muslim women as they led to show of skin or were unpractical for swimming. To aptly describe how uncomfortable the swimwear designed for Muslimahs was I shall quote Aheda Zanetti who wrote to the National Geographic News stating “As an active Muslim girl, I found it difficult to participate in most sports, because of all the excess clothes we were wearing. And the veil very unpractical when playing sports”.For a market that was not targeted by big market share holders like Nike scattering small companies took the initiative of designing something fruitful for Muslimahs. People like Zanetti, Oliver Momeni and Hasema saw a great potential and design need in the market of swimwear for Muslimahs. Zanetti, is the owner of Ahiida, an Australian company that designs women’s sportswear. Oliver Momeni started his venture of Bodykini in 2007, based in Spain and Hasema a Turkish company started designing a line of swimwear for men, women and kids. Among all these products the most admired and reviewed is “Bodykini”.Surely, Oliver had the support and opinions of his Iranian family members and an experience of over 20 years in the family textile business. Before designing the final product “Bodykini”, Oliver conducted a lot of market research and held talks with many Muslim women. In the course of his time, he learned the important attributes targeted while designing the swimsuit. He designed Bodykini which is a complete blend of a swimsuit that looks great, designed for modest comfort, adheres to Islam’s tradition and most importantly lets women swim without any fear.It does so by removing all the excess fabric that the previous swimwear provided like the veil, pants and skirts. Oliver incorporated every thing into 2 main piece of clothing: a shirt with a hijood that serves as a close-fitting headpiece, which firmly lays on the head without slipping and a pant. The fabric used is a high quality water-repellent fabric that is not only highly Chlorine resistant but also provides protection from ultraviolet rays. The advantage of using a Polyester material is that it has low water absorbency, dries fast and ensures complete stretch in all directions leading to comfortable swimming or aqua-sport.The Bodykini comes in two colors to choose from and two unique features. The first feature is the two elastic bands that are attached at the inside of the pants that get buttoned to the inside of the suit, which prevent the suit from floating in case the swimmer performs a feet first dive. The second feature is the small pocket with a zipper in the pants; ideal for keeping small items like keys or money.So now, with products like Bodykini both the problems namely: meeting the Islamic traditional requirements and availability of a comfortable swimming garment for women, are solved. Bodykini is available online at bodykini.com. Along with this Bodykini has been launched in the Middle East and is available in Dubai at Al Boom Marine retail stores or at the Dubai Ladies Club.Now, Islamic women can remain more active and enjoy the aqua sports with the power of Bodykini. The Bodykini modest swimwear is becoming popular among not just the Muslim population but also among all those women who love to cover their bodies and prevent the tans while enjoying the relaxing water.Having said all this, Oliver Momeni is not just being thanked by all Muslim women for introducing such a wonderful product in the market but the big players are looking forward to promote products like Bodykini which is showing a very good grip on the swimwear market. Taylor, of Azizah Magazine, says that“In another 15 years there’s going to be a sizable Muslim consumer market and lots of demand”.I think we’re where the Hispanic market was 20 years ago, and today the Hispanic market is a big consumer market.” Further more, Arun Jain, a marketing professor at the University of Buffalo in New York State, agrees and states that given the growth potential of the Muslim community in the United States, major sportswear manufacturers could be missing out on an opportunity to break into an emerging market. Moreover, more than just the Muslim women the modern world women comprising of Christian, Jews and others don’t feel the need to show off their bodies and strive to be modest.
Source: http://estdebait.com/2008/12/muslim-women-are-taking-part-in-aqua-aerobic-and-swimming-events/


Daughters of Islam: Family Influences on Muslim Young Women's Participation in Sport

Tess Kay, Loughborough University, UK, t.a.kay@lboro.ac.uk

This article examines the significance of family influence on young women from minority (Muslim) communities who have participated in a combined sport and education programme designed to encourage access to further and higher education. The study explores how family expectations about the roles of young women affect the participants' responses to the programme. The research examines young women's understanding of their parents' views in relation to their participation in the programme and their broader aspirations for their daughters' adult lives in the family, education and employment domains. The young women's accounts of their family members' views on minority life in Britain, and the influence this might have on their own opportunities and experiences, are also considered. The research was conducted in partnership with a graduate female Muslim Sport and education development worker and with young female participants (n = 7) in the sports programme, all of whom were actively involved in the design, implementation and analysis of the study. The young women undertook in-depth interviews within their families, and responded to the content of these in subsequent focus group discussions. The study revealed extensive parental influence on the young women's involvement in the sports programme and over their lives as a whole, and the significance of Islam within this; however, it also highlighted the extent to which young people `navigated' between their family identity and the westernized experiences they were exposed to on a day-to-day basis. Conclusions are drawn about the value of sport in illuminating the lived experience of minority groups, and on the need for further analysis of young people's sports behaviour in the context of family.
sOURCE: http://irs.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/41/3-4/357?rss=1


Resport: Voted OverWhelmingly by Athletes!

Many Muslim women athletes are in a dilemma because of the design of modern sportswear: follow their faith and have their motions hampered or compromise their beliefs in the name of sports performance?
In 2006 new volleyball uniforms, designed through a partnership between Nike and the United Nations, were given to Muslim women living in a Somali refugee camp in Kenya. The uniforms permit the women athletes to practice sport while covering their bodies and heads in a way that remains true to their faith.
More recently, Al Ghasara, a Bahrainian sprinter, won the gold medal in the 200 metre race at the Asian Games. The athlete wore a modern Hijab to help her maintain a competitive edge.
Elham Seyed Javad, an undergraduate student at Université de Montréal’s School of Industrial Design, came up with a new design of the Hijab as her final-year project: Resport.
Resport is athletic wear that easily stabilises long hair, holding it high on the head and out of the way for free and safe movements. Resport was designed with the participation of athletes to maximize the performance. Resport’s unique design features a detachable hood for immediate versatility.
The ergonomic fit of the Resport models makes it indispensable for a variety of sports such as martial arts, hockey, skiing, water polo, football, etc.
Resport with its design is not only dedicated for sport use. With optimized fabric, it can be used as a flash hood or as a safety equipment (occupational safety). It can also serve as sanitary protection (agri-food, food service) or as caps (surgery).