UN Cancels Gaza Race After Hamas Rejects Women Runners

Annual marathon is called off over dispute
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2013 1:09 PM CST
Palestinian runners, Nader Al Masri, left, and Mahmoud Yousef, participate in the first Gaza marathon in 2011.   (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

(Newser) – An annual Gaza marathon race is now kaput because Hamas thinks it's immoral to have male and female runners on the same road. The UN called off April's race after failing to convince Hamas leaders to budge, reports the BBC. More than 800 runners had signed up to run in the international marathon, about half of them women, reports al-Jazeera. "We don't want women and men mixing in the same place," says a Hamas official. The same mindset makes it illegal for women to ride on the back of motorcycles and for men to work in hair salons, notes the AP. (Read more Gaza stories.)

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