Taboos for Muslim women: riding a bicycle

28 February 2016

EFD Senior Fellow Valentina Colombo comments the words of Ali Abu Shwaima, head of the Islamic Centre of the Lombardy region in Italy.  Abu Shaima was reported saying that Islamic women can “ride a Cadillac, a Mercedes, but not a bicycle”, words that have been heavily criticised in Italy.

Colombo points out that this sensitive issue has its roots from within Europe, more specifically from the European Council for Fatwa and Research, a private foundation based in Dublin that, amongst other things, issues fatwas that supposedly regulate the lives of Muslims in Europe and is notably linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

In fact, fatwa number 38 affirms that the activity of riding a bicycle should be avoided in case a woman might be subject to loosing her virginity, in order to prevent raising any sort of suspicion on the issue.

Abu Shaima is also head of the Facebook page of the Al Rahman Mosque, which has posted in te past images subject to criticism, such as a picture of a group of very young girls, completely covered up and holding the Koran. Colombo wonders if these girls deliberately chose to appear this way, or if it was imposed upon them.

Abu Shaima’s claims on women riding bicycles are only one of many examples of the conservative views that the European Council of Fatwas and Research has on women.

The article is in Italian and can be read here