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National celebrations open Saudi sports stadium to women for first time

Sunday, September 24, 2017 - 01:14

Saudi Arabia is celebrating the 87th anniversary of its foundation and has allowed women to enter the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh for the first time. Pascale Davies reports.

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A traditional start to celebrate Saudi Arabia's 87th anniversary of its foundation. But this year, there's a big difference. For the first time, women have been allowed to enter the King Fahd stadium to see a performance praising the kingdom's religious and martial past. But, some people have been critical as Saudi Arabia adheres to the austere Wahhabi brand of Sunni Islam which bans gender mixing. The events are the latest entertainment sponsored by the government as part of the Vision 2030 reform program. Its aim is to diversify the economy away from oil and open up Saudis' sheltered lifestyles. Celebrations are taking place across the country this year, and are bigger than ever. With a concert in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, fireworks, air acrobatics and traditional folk dance shows. It marks a change from previous years where celebrations of national identity were discouraged by the religious establishment.

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National celebrations open Saudi sports stadium to women for first time

Sunday, September 24, 2017 - 01:14