The Newest Olympians: Muslim Women

Andrew Sullivan —  Jul 19 2012 @ 7:43pm


For the first time in history, the Saudi Arabian squad will include women – one competing in judo and the other in 800m run. Brunei and Qatar will also break with tradition to include female athletes. Then there's Zamzam Ali Farah of Team Somalia, who had to endure intimidation from al-Shabab militants while training in Mogadishu for the 800m:

"The Shebab kept threatening me, they wanted to stop me from reaching my dreams," said Farah. "It was hard since that meant we were forced to have our training indoors."

Citing a Goldman Sachs report (pdf), Catherine Rampell notes that women now account for around 40% of Olympic athletes and this year is the first Games in which every country is fielding females.

(Photo: Zamzam Mahmuud Farah, who will compete in the 800m race, is given a kiss before boarding an airplane to London to attend the 2012 Olympic games, on July 17, 2012, at the airport in Mogadishu. By Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP/Getty Images)