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Girls Won't Remove Hijab at Sports Event

The Associated Press reported in the Houston Chronicle that a team of mainly Muslim girls was forced to pull out of a Tae Kwon Do tournament near Montreal Sunday because its members refused to remove their hijabs. Tournament organizers told team officials the girls could not compete because the Muslim headscarves posed a safety risk. The decision was made at a referee's meeting earlier in the day because hijabs are not listed under allowed equipement, said international referee Stephanie Menard. The team is made up of girls between the ages of 8 and 12 and is affiliated with a Muslim community center in Montreal. Five of the team's six players wear a hijab and have been allowed to participate in similar tournaments around Quebec. The team's coach Mahdi Sbeiti said his team suspects a changing political atmosphere played a role in this decision.

CBC News reported that officials told the coach that if someone yanked on the traditional Muslim headcovering, the hijab, a portion of which hangs beneath the players' helmets, strangulation was possible. Carole Ste.-Marie told CBC's Andrew Chang that her team had never encountered this issue in the three years her six-member squad, five of whom are Muslims, has competed. The tournament organizer, Raymond Mourad, said that he wanted officials to let the girls compete on Sunday and issue a warning for the next time, but his pleas were ignored.

Comments

Thanks for your article...

Better luck next time. Though, I'd like to see that karate match, regardless of apparel. Talk about a good line up!

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The issue of hijab in sport is being highlighted more and more. Here in the UK some clubs have allowed hijabs and some havent. I hope everyone can recognise the hijab as a right rather than a favour or a symbol of oppression. Let us all pray Inshallah