15:21 GMT +315 December 2017
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    Members of the Afghan national women's cycling team riding their road bikes in Paghman district of Kabul province.

    Hop on Your Bike! Afghan Female Cyclers on Track for Nobel Prize

    © AFP 2017/ SHAH Marai
    Middle East
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    The sight of a woman on a bicycle may be normal in Europe and America, but in Afghanistan members of the National Women’s Cycling Team suffer accusations of immorality and threats of violence just for riding a bike. Unfazed, they do it anyway, and for that they’ve been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, a UK website wrote, citing Italian MPs.

    The team’s nomination came about earlier this year after 118 Italian MPs signed a petition to have the Afghan Women’s Cycling Team included in recognition of their dedication, and hard-work promoting cycling in Afghanistan, totalwomenscycling.com wrote.

    Rather than being deterred by threats, and street harassment, the 40-strong team, led by Zahra Hussaini, sees these threats as challenges to overcome.

    “People are watching us from behind our backs, it is horrifying,” a team member said.

    “Some people believe women are meant only to stay at home, and all they can do is cook food and do housework,” her teammate added. "They say a bicycle can destroy a girl’s future. People say a lot of things. If we listened to them we would never leave our houses”.

    The team’s nomination came about after 118 Italian MPs signed a petition to have the Afghan Women’s Cycling Team included.

    The inclusion of the bicycle in the Nobel Peace prize candidates was suggested by Italian social media and several radio stations.

    The Afghan women’s ‘cycling movement’  is seen as a slow battle for freedom in a war-torn country, and a powerful step forward for women’s rights.

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    Tags:
    Nobel Peace Prize, national team, female cyclists, nomination, Zahra Hussaini, Afghanistan
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