Some observers are calling for a revision of Olympic law to force countries โ€” specifically Saudi Arabia and Brunei โ€” to allow women to compete. Those are the only two countries who forbid women from competing in sports because, according to an op-ed in the Washington Post, "Ultra-conservative clerics have deemed women's sports sinful." Muslimah Media Watch, a blog that looks at the representation of Muslim women in popular culture, has a thoughtful round-up of links about Muslimahs in the Olympics. The blog quotse an International Herald Tribune article that argues, "While the hypothetical example of participating countries barring black athletes from the Olympic Games would have rightly caused international outrage, the committee continues to allow the participation of countries that do not allow women on their Olympic teams."Blogger Duniya at MMW contends that the Saudi and Brunei ban on women competing makes all Muslims look bad. "It is embarrassing that these Muslim countries have such a ban. Considering that most Muslim countries allow women to participate, Saudi Arabia and Brunei have no excuse to exclude women, other than misogyny of course. And in the meantime, all Muslims will once again be labeled as misogynist." As the Washington Post points out, many Muslim women competing in Beijing wear the headscarf (like Egyptian fencer Iman Shaban, pictured), so people who argue that a woman cannot compete in sports and remain modest are dead wrong. "Some of those Muslim female athletes in Beijing wore headscarves, as did Sheikha Maitha Bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the 28-year old who carried the flag for the UAE and who will compete in tae kwon do," the Post notes. There seems to be some grass roots protesting going on, as Saudi women's rights activist Wajeha al-Huwaider has created a video decrying her country's ban on women in the Olympics. Al-Huwaider is already Youtube-famous for a video she made earlier this year, where she drives around the Saudi countryside, openly defying the ban on female drivers. Al-Huwaider's sports protest video is directly below.

Let The Women Play [Washington Post] Muslimahs At Beijing Olympics [Muslimah Media Watch] Bar Countries That Ban Women Athletes [IHT]