NEW DELHI: A Muslim organisation has issued an edict demanding India's teen tennis sensation Sania Mirza cover up during matches, describing her short skirts and sleeveless shirts as "un-Islamic". The 18-year-old Muslim tennis player, the first Indian woman to break into the top 50 WTA rankings, dismissed the fatwa, as the edict is known. "I have nothing to say about that," she said.
A top cleric of Sunni Ulema Board said he issued the fatwa against the 18-year-old tennis player because of her "indecent dressing" on the court and in advertisements.
"The dress she wears on the tennis courts not only doesn't cover large parts of her body but leaves nothing to the imagination," cleric Haseeb-ul-Hasan Siddiqui said.
He said Islam did not permit women to wear skirts, shorts and sleeveless tops in public and that she should cover up.
"Sania Mirza is a Muslim and she stands half-naked on the tennis court while playing, which is against Islam," Siddikulla Chowdhury, secretary of the Jamiat-Ulama-Hind Islamic movement in Calcutta said.
Mirza was knocked out last week from the US Open in the fourth round - the first Indian woman to make it that far in any Grand Slam event - and has a growing following across India.
She's been profiled by the major papers, and there are several websites dedicated to her by fans in India, where Muslims account for about 130 million of the country's one billion people, most of whom are Hindu.
Siddiqui said Mirza should follow the example of Iranian women who wore long tunics and headscarves to play in the Asian Badminton Championship in Hyderabad earlier in the week.