They were banned from playing in a crucial qualifying match for wearing headscarves.
Officials of FIFA, the international football (soccer) association, say that the headscarves broke the association’s dress code. One official who has not been identified said that the headscarves were banned because they’re a safety issue.
Athletic versions of headscarves (called hijabs) have been worn in Olympic competition for years, including an unprecedented number in the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Sports hijabs are called hijoods, and were worn by athletes from a variety of Arab nations competing in track and field, rowing, archery, fencing, and taekwondo.
Women in Iran (and all other Muslim countries) are required to follow Muslim rules on dress, which call for arms, legs, and hair being covered. Uniforms are designed to allow for both performance and adherence to this law.
Okay. A couple of things:
1. I can understand the safety concern, because soccer is more of a contact sport than rowing and fencing. But if hijoods were allowed in taekwondo… Do I have to finish that sentence?
2. Women are constantly being criticized for their lack of modesty, even in sports. In 1999, soccer player Brandi Chastain was blasted by the media for pulling up her shirt and exposing her sports bra after scoring a goal. But now these women want to cover up, be modest, and follow their faith, and this isn’t allowed either? So what IS allowed?
3. Yes, hijoods are religious symbols. But so are yarmulkes, Stars of David, the cross, etc. Is FIFA going to ban all religious paraphernalia?
4. If those girls can play soccer in the middle eastern summer wearing long pants, long sleeves, and headscarves, they’re tougher than most people who walk this earth! Let them play soccer, for crying out loud!
As both a girl and a passionate Olympics fan, I’m horrified. First of all, the Olympics are supposed to be about the best athletes in the world competing against each other. Call me naive, but I don’t think that any circumstance, be it religious or political, should keep a qualified team from earning their spot. I don’t know how good the Iranian team actually is, but for them not to get a chance to try just because of something their country’s law requires them to wear is OUTRAGEOUS.
Second, these women are required by their religion to cover their hair. They didn’t choose it; it’s the law. So who is FIFA to decide what is law in a number of countries isn’t allowed on the soccer field? And because scarves are a safety issue! Remember that 2009 college soccer game in which a girl yanked an opposing player to the ground by her ponytail? I haven’t heard anything about ponytails being banned because they’re a safety issue. Just sayin’!
What do you think? Do any of you wear a hijab and want to weigh in?