Monday, November 26, 2007

More Racism in Calgary against Muslim Women

Update: The president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada reacts to the referee and ASA's decision.
Update: A Calgary Herald Reader reacts with an eye glasses anecdote; also a bending of the rules sited below.

Making front page headline on the Calgary Herald's online edition this morning, this is just infuriating! A 14 year old girl was suspended from her soccer game on Saturday when the referee would not allow her to play. She has never had a problem before and has been wearing her head scarf while playing indoor soccer all year. This is the second time (that I'm aware) in a month that hijabs are being considered a safety issue for women in Calgary. This also isn't the first time this has happened:

In February, a girls soccer team made up of Grade 6 students from Nepean, Ont., forfeited a tournament in Laval, Que., when one of the players was ordered by a referee to remove her hijab. Four other teams from Ottawa also forfeited their games in protest.

Seems it's safe to wear a hijab in the boxing ring, as well as rugby, a much more agressive game than soccer. What's the difference between wearing a head scarf and having long hair!? A pony tail is also a safey concern but girls aren't being asked to whack those off or get off the field.

It's unbelievable that the Alberta Soccer Association is standing by the referee's decision. But wait a minute!!! I just read this on ASA website under the "Rules and Regulations":

Iv) (2006) Jewelry and Non-compulsory Equipment
a) (2006) In District and provincial competitions leading to national competitions, no player will be permitted to wear any jewelry, as outlined in the jewelry policy of the Canadian Soccer Association, with the exceptions that bandanas and sweatbands will be allowed for religious or medical reasons, and prescription eye glasses will be permitted.
b) (2006) In all other competitions in Alberta, the wearing of jewelry by players will be ermitted as long as it is taped to the satisfaction of the referee. This is not to be interpreted to mean that all jewelry is allowed provided that it is taped. The referee shall not allow anything to be worn by any player for any reason if the referee determines that it is a potential danger to another player.

How can the ASA support the referee's decision when this explicitly says the "exception that bandanas and sweatbands will be allowed for religious or medical reasons"? A hijab poses NO THREAT to the safety of other players or the player herself. There is no reason for the referee's call except explicit racism. Shame on the ASA for supporting it.

We can support 14 year old Safaa Menhem by contacting the ASA and tell them what we think of this hypocritical and racist decision!

Here's the link to the the contact info.

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