FIFA dragged into Canadian row over girl´s hijab

5 03 2007

Source: about.com (What Age do Muslim Girls start to wear the Hijab?)

Source:  Antara 

Source: Soccerway  Written by: AFP

MONTREAL (AFP) – A young girl’s expulsion from a tournament this weekend for wearing a hijab will be upheld by Quebec soccer officials, they said Monday, unless the world soccer federation FIFA changes gear rules.

Asmahan Mansour, 11, was ousted from a tournament on Sunday in a Montreal suburb after refusing to take off her hijab, the head scarf many Muslim women wear under religious principles.

Brigitte Frot, executive director of the Quebec Soccer Federation, told AFP she was not allowed on the field for safety reasons, not religious objections.

“It’s unfortunate,” she said. “I believe FIFA will have to rule, yes or no, whether hijabs are permitted on the soccer field. Whatever they decide, we’ll abide by the rules.”

Until then, however, Mansour and other Muslim women would not be allowed to play soccer in Canada’s French-speaking Quebec province while wearing a head scarf, she said.

The incident that sparked a national outcry occurred about five minutes into a game Sunday, when the Nepean coach wished to substitute Mansour, who was not in the starting line-up, for another player.

Media reports said the referee, who is coincidentally Muslim himself, feared Mansour could be choked if the scarf were tugged on.

“Based on FIFA rules, the referee asked the young girl to remove her hijab, fearing it posed a danger to her and other players. She refused,” Frot said.

Mansour’s Nepean Hotspurs Selects team quit the tournament to show solidarity with their teammate. Four other teams also joined the boycott.

Rules of the Zurich-based FIFA, which governs international soccer play, do not specify a ban on head scarves.

But Frot insisted local players are covered by FIFA’s strict dress code, which bans any equipment or wear, including jewellery, that could be dangerous to players.

The Quebec federation had previously disallowed players who wore piercing rings or medical bracelets, she noted.

What a sad story, sad on two fronts.  The first is simply that this child cannot partake in a common childhood event – soccer.  The second is that this even has to be an issue.

In all honesty, an 11 year old girl did not come up with this idea for a battle on her own, it is most common in Muslim customs for girls of puberty age and older to wear the hijab, because they are affirming their beliefs and roll in the Muslim society, no small decision for a child.  Sadly I believe she was forced into starting a battle.

Although, the rules in Ontario and Quebec differ for their soccer associations.  Ontario uses the rules of the Canadian federation for soccer, while Quebec uses a variation of the FIFA rules.  Canadian rules allow for reglious head dress, while the Quebec rules were not clear (hense the reason this has come up as a debate)

I’m trying to see what FIFA would not allow the Hijab.  The only reasoning I can come up with is that they would have to rule it yeah or ney for all relgious head dresses, take the Sihk turban one could argue that it could be used as additional padding and provide an unfair advantage.

What do you think?

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