Haia imposes ban on women jogging in Asir town

Published: May 1, 2010 01:06 Updated: May 1, 2010 01:22 

AL-MUJARADAH: The Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice 
(Haia) has banned women from jogging and other physical exercise in certain 
areas of an Asir town, Al-Watan reported on Friday.

The Haia's branch in Al-Mujaradah attempted to justify its decision by claiming 
it was doing the women a favor.

"The Haia did not exactly ban women from physical exercise, it only intervened 
to guarantee their safety from criminals who frequently harass them as they 
walk in lonely places," said Haia spokesman for Asir province Bandar Al-Mufreh.

A Haia member, who chose to remain anonymous as he was not authorized to speak 
on the record, said records from the commission described one particular street 
in the town where women were banned as lonely, poorly lighted, and frequented 
by drug addicts and other anti-social people.

This was disputed by fitness enthusiast R.S Al-Shahri, who claimed that the 
street was safe and well-lit, while almost 30 women would walk there between 
sunset and Isha prayers. "But the Haia members banned us from walking on the 
street when there was nothing to fear," she said.

She claimed that when she called Al-Mujaradah's Haia chief Muhammad Al-Shahri 
for an explanation, he told her that the place was unsafe for women.

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