Saudis ridicule ‘women look at football players’ thighs’ fatwa

A Saudi cleric has been ridiculed by Saudis online for stating that women only watched football to stare at men’s thighs. The imam issued a fatwa (religious edict) said it should be “haram” or forbidden for women to watch football games causing controversy in Saudi Arabia. He said in his fatwa that women “do not care who wins the match, all they care about is watching the player’s thighs.” He added that a “woman seeing a foreign man is sinful, so what about seeing his thighs and tight kit?” In an opinion piece for Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, translated in English by the Saudi Gazette, columnist Ruqaya Al-Huwairni wrote: “I cannot describe how embarrassed and annoyed I was after listening to a fatwa issued by a local mosque imam.” Al-Huwairni added: “To be frank, I do not know why women are looked down upon more than men. This is common among scholars and extremists. How is it possible for anyone to say that women only watch football to enjoy looking at players’ thighs? Social media reactions were quick to point out the apparent ridiculousness of the imam’s fatwa with a trending hashtag in Arabic which translates to: #women_love_football_because_of_players'_thighs. Twitter reactions were wide ranging with hundreds of tweets ridiculing the imam’s fatwa. One tweet mocked the ruling in her own way saying “How did we get here? I love chicken thighs more…roasted and golden with barbeque and mustard and honey and more…” Another tweet with the same hashtag and a photo of a few football players from the 1970s with distinctive short shorts, “it is good the players are not wearing 1970s football kits or your sins would be even greater!” Meanwhile, Al-Huwairni also added in her op-ed that the imam's “judgment is harsh and it reduces women to sexual objects. The imam did not only say that such things bring corruption but also banned women from looking at men who are not related to them. " She continued by asking whether “women become blind so that they are unable to see men, such as their drivers, street cleaners, grocery shop owners, doctors, professors, etc?”