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In Saudi Arabia women’s gyms can only operate legally inside hospitals, where they are called health centres.  They are so expensive (over $250 per month) that only the very wealthy can afford them.

Other, cheaper gyms for women exist, but they are called  studios or beauty salons. But the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs recently closed two in the Red Sea city of Jeddah and one in the city of Dammam on the Gulf Arab coast for not having a license.

Sheikh Abdullah al-Maneea, member of the official Supreme Council of Religious Scholars, explains the concern.

“Football and basketball are sports that require a lot of movement and jumping.”  He said such excessive movement may harm girls who are still virgins, possibly causing them to lose their virginity.

Am I confused, or is he?

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