By Grant Podelco, RFE/RL
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has over 12000 followers on twitter
If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, it's said, then Muhammad must go to the mountain.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei seems to have taken that adage to heart. On his Twitter feed, Iran's supreme leader (or whoever is ghostwriting his tweets) reminisces about his childhood and urges young people in his country to participate in sports, saying that he himself often goes mountain climbing (by which he probably means hiking) around Tehran.
Khamenei alludes to the mistaken belief that Muslims should not exercise or go to the gym due to religious restrictions on dress and the intermingling of the sexes:
When I was young student of Islamic school, my father wasn't eager to let me go to gym ...— khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) June 18, 2013
Though religious precautions must be taken, Muslims are encouraged to exercise and participate in any activities that promote physical and mental health.
Khamenei should be applauded for dispelling any myths that still exist, especially among young people, that exercise is frowned upon in Islam.
And he may have unknowingly inspired a whole slew of Iranians to take to the hills around Tehran in the hopes of running into the supreme leader on the trails.
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