Iraq’s Basra marathon bars women after online row

Organisers of a marathon in predominantly conservative southern Iraq have decided to exclude women following furious controversy on social media pitting women’s rights supporters against opponents of mixed events.

The Basra marathon, sponsored by the provincial governor and several corporate donors, is scheduled to take place on Friday.

The organizers say the aim is to “shine a spotlight on the city and its tourism”.

However, “following the instructions of interim governor, Mohamed Taher al-Tamimi, participation in the Basra marathon will be open to men only,” the organisers announced on social media on Wednesday.

In Iraq, where men and patriarchal structures continue to dominate, a lot of voices are calling for the race to be cancelled.

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