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Girls allowed to play spots at private schools in Saudi Arabia

May 5, 2013 at 12:34 PM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, May 5 (UPI) -- The Saudi Arabian education ministry has ruled that girls in the country will be able to participate in sports at private schools, officials said.

The ministry announced the new regulations for physical education on Saturday, CNN reported.

Girls who wish to participate in sports at their schools must "dress modestly" and have appropriate equipment and facilities. Female teachers are to supervise these activities.

"[This decision] stems from the teachings of our religion, which allows women to practice such activities in accordance with Sharia," said Education Ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Dakhini.

Meanwhile, some said the ministry's decision may not be as momentous as it seems.

"This is not a big deal," said blogger Eman al-Nafjan, who writes about Saudi women's issues. "Private schools already have a physical education program, and the government knows about them. My daughter and niece both go to separate well-known private schools, and they both have sports programs."

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