For wearing a leotard at the Southeast Asia games, Farah Ann Abdul Hadi has come under fire where she won a total of six medals
Hadi, 21, a Muslim gymnast has been criticised by religious leaders for wearing a leotard which is ‘revealing’ at the Southeast Asian Games where she won a double gold.
Hadi represented Malaysia at the Southeast Asian Games where she won a total of six medals including two golds.
She was castigated by social media and leaders for showing her “aurat” – an Islamic word referring to thighs and genitalia.
Cleric Harussani Zakaria informed one local paper: “Gymnastics is not for Muslim women. It is clear that exposing one’s aurat and the shape of one’s body is forbidden in Islam.”
“If Muslim women want to participate in gymnastics, they have to find outfits which cover the aurat and this, in turn, might not be suitable for the sport.”
He also stated that during playing football, Muslim men wear shorts that cover their knees, and Muslim women should make similar concessions too.
Head of the female win of the National Muslim Youth Association, Roszida Kamaruddin added: “Women should not be stopped from sports, but they must prioritise the Islamic codes in sports.”
“Furthermore, there are many Muslim female athletes who succeed even by covering their aurat.”
By writing messages of support, thousands of her fans have defended her on social media.
A Facebook page supporting her has received 18,000 likes, user Nooraini Yasin wrote: “Well done Farah Ann Abdul Hadi! You are someone Malaysia and all Malaysians should be proud of.
“You trained hard and show great dedication and discipline and have shown that with hard work one can achieve great heights no matter your gender. Be brave be strong.”
Malaysian Ray Lai, added: “We Malaysians are proud of you. Ignore those narrow minded creatures who lambasted you over your sport attire.
“The fact that they can’t appreciate sport excellence and your well-deserved honour shows there’s something wrong with those self-centred people who act as moral police.”
Khairy Jamaluddin, Malaysia’s minister for youth and sports also defended her.
He tweeted: “In gymnastics Farah wowed the judges and brought home gold. In her deeds only the almighty judges her. Not you. Leave our athletes alone.”
In a press conference in Singapore, he said: “I think this whole incident also smacks sexism. Nobody has complained about… kinky Speedos, or Sazali (Samad) wearing tight shorts when he flexes his muscles but when it comes to gymnasts, suddenly it’s a big problem.”
Hadi thanked her fans on Twitter for defending her, saying: “Thanks so much for all the support. I appreciate it so much. Love you all.”
She wrote: “Empty cans make the most noise” – which has since been re-tweeted almost 5,000 times.
This article originally appeared on The Telegraph