It’s not exactly the WNBA, although the ratings are comparable: it’s the 2008 Islamic Games, held this past weekend in South Brunswick, New Jersey. And while the culture of Islam tends to be a littler tougher for women, they did have female events. Of course, they played basketball wearing the traditional hajib scarf and long, baggy sweatshirts.
From TIME’s coverage, “[t]he Games were staged according to strict Islamic codes, meaning that girls are separated from boys, staging their events in a large gymnasium.” And this level of athletics is about all the girls can enjoy — because their religion prohibits them from playing college and pro ball, given their uniforms.
“They cannot play in college,” says Coach [Jasmina] Zekic. “Our religion does not allow playing in shorts, exposing our skin and body movements to a male audience.”
That shouldn’t have read nearly as hot as it was probably intended. But we’ll run with it.
Another school — the one that won the game in the article, at least — contends that Muslim women are allowed by their religion to play in college, as long as they can adhere to the uniform. But perhaps everyone’s mistaken on the rules here. If the team that won says they can play in college … then that just means they’re better than the team that lost, who cannot play in college. It’s all in the Qu’ran. Look it up.