International Sports Rules Impact Enforcement Of Shariah-compliant Athlete Attire

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The Terengganu government acknowledges the challenges in fully enforcing the guidelines for Shariah-compliant sports attire among Muslim athletes, due to constraints imposed by international sports regulations.

State Youth, Sports and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) Development committee chairman Hishamuddin Abdul Karim said the state government has launched the guidelines for entertainment, cultural performances, tourism and sports activities in March 2020, which highlighted ethics and standards for Muslim athletes and coaches.

According to him, one of the established guidelines is that Muslim athletes should dress according to Islamic law, covering their “aurat”, dressing modestly, and wearing appropriate attire for the sport they are involved in.

“For non-Muslim athletes, they are recommended to dress modestly, avoiding tight, short, or revealing outfits,” he said at the State Assembly meeting here, today.

He responded to a question by Tengku Muhamad Fakhruddin Tengku Md Fauzi (PAS-Sura) who inquired about the state government’s modesty dress code standards for all sports events in the state.

The state government is committed to enforcing Shariah-compliant sports policies, which include modest dress codes within its jurisdiction, Hishamuddin said adding that the Shariah-compliant concept had to be modified to a more lenient and educational approach known as Shariah-friendly, he said when met by reporters.

“We have policies ensuring our athletes adhere to Shariah law. However, we’ve made slight adjustments because full compliance is not entirely possible. So we are adopting a Shariah-friendly approach as a starting point to initiate change. This process requires education and raising awareness among athletes rather than strict enforcement,” he said.

To further demonstrate the government’s commitment to Shariah-compliant attire among athletes, it has involved the mufti in the State Terengganu Sports Council (MSNT) Management Committee. The mufti directly monitors and provides advice on related matters.

He added that at MSNT, a specialised religious officer has been appointed to serve as a spiritual coach, handling various religious activities for athletes.

“However, as of now, we are still maintaining the decision not to allow female athletes to participate in gymnastics due to body-revealing nature of their attire. We hope everyone respects our stance. Our concern is not against the sport itself, but enabling female athletes to participate in such conditions is deemed inappropriate,” he added. — Bernama