Women’s falconry association wades into controversy in Qatar

February 1, 2012
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A move to launch the world’s first female falconry association at a press conference in Qatar is being resisted by Qatari social media users, a local daily has reported.

On Tuesday, reports emerged in the Qatari capital, Doha, that Qatar’s cultural village “Katara” would announce the inauguration of the world’s first female falconry association to give prominence to the association objectives.

The press conference for the announcement will also make public details of a worldwide female falconers conference and falconry female competitions, according to reports.

The conference coincides with Qatar Third annual International Falcon and Hunting Festival, being held under the patronage of Shaikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al Thani, seen as “highly significant in reviving the country’s heritage and in preserving falconry in Qatar where hunting is considered a popular practice.”

However, Qatari Arabic daily Al Raya on Wednesday reported that several locals opposed the idea of the association, arguing that it clashed with the nature of women in the Middle East, especially that falconry included spending hours, and sometimes days, in the desert.

“This is against our traditions, and engaging in this exclusively male sport will make people scoff at us,” a Facebook user wrote, quoted by the daily. “It is a waste of public funds and our women are going to behave like men,” said another.

Hessa Al Meftah, the head of public relations at the Qatar Foundation for the Protection of Women and Children, said that the situation was “laughable.” “This is a source for derision and laughter,” she said. “Girls refuse strongly the idea that does not fit with the feminine nature of our women that does not allow them to hunt. It has always been known since time immemorial that falconry is for men only. Our grandmothers have been involved with men in almost everything, but history does not record a single case of a woman engaged in falconry,” she said, quoted by the daily.

Progress and modernism do not mean encouraging ideas that clash with the traditions and culture of the society, she added. For Leena Al Dafie, a social activist, women have greater interests than falconry.

“Some years ago, 40 young people and I applied to set up an association that would fight smoking and drugs,” she said. “Unfortunately, it never materialised. I strongly believe that we should focus our efforts on protecting our society and our mores and traditions,” she said, quoted by the daily.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/qatar/women-s-falconry-association-wades-into-controversy-in-qatar-1.974297

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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