Hazardous Hijabs!?



Different religions call for different attire that is deemed acceptable in their religion, for the Sikh it’s the turban, for a Jew it may be his yamaka, for a Catholic Nun the robes she chooses to wear, and for a Muslimah it is the hijab which is compulsory according to her religion. Here in Canada we pride ourselves in our tolerance and acceptance of one another’s religion, and in the traditions they bring a long with them. Yet should it be a matter blown out of proportion on what an individual chooses to wear on the premise that it’s a safety hazard?

This seemed to be the case when an unsuspecting 14-year-old girl, Safaa Menhem was all of a sudden banned from playing soccer due to the religious headscarf she was wearing. A soccer referee made the call that it was unsafe for her to be on the field with a headscarf on her head.  And this decision was later backed up by Gary Roy, the referee development officer with the Alberta Soccer Association who said that this is not an issue of religious discrimination but rather “The reason is, that if a player is wearing a hijab that is tied under the chin and someone decides to grab her by her hijab while she’s running down the field, it could result in a serious injury,”. An adequate explanation yet it was certainly not enough for the coaches and team mates of Safaa as she had been playing for the past five seasons without incident. It’s easy to see that this situation can go back and forth with both sides providing adequate reasoning behind their views. Safety versus religious discrimination; to reach a good resolution the solution may not lie in having the same Neo Nazi methods employed by the French government when they banned religious headgear and sought to severely fine anyone who broke the law, but rather we should look to our own Canadian Armed forces and Police who approved a military issued official religious garments to be part of their uniforms, therefore satisfying both religion and protocol.


Source: http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/story.html?k=77400&id=251ef17f-7295-45fc-b6fd-140437535de5

4 thoughts on “Hazardous Hijabs!?

  1. I found your post to be very intriguing. I did not hear about this specific incident but as a Muslim living in the west, I am well aware of all the stereotypes and preposterous comments and arguments that often arise concerning the Hijab. Since Safaa Menhem has been wearing hijab for many years and playing soccer for five years – without incident- there should be no reason for her to have to forsake her beliefs. I agree with you when you state that “Here in Canada we pride ourselves in our tolerance and acceptance of one another’s religion, and in the traditions they bring a long with them. Yet should it be a matter blown out of proportion on what an individual chooses to wear on the premise that it’s a safety hazard?”. Canada is a country that prides itself on diversity and multiculturalism, yet on a daily basis racism, discrimination, and prejudice are highly ubiquitous. Unfortunately, it is so prevalent that many people are clearly unaffected by throwing their stereotypical beliefs at young children. Safaa should never have been asked to even remove her head scarf because in soccer a simple tug on a t-shirt is an automatic foul, so no one should be touching her Hijab in the first place. The fact that in this day and age, and here in Canada, a fourteen-year-old girl can be discriminated against by reason of her religious beliefs, is distressing and unacceptable.

  2. I personally think that banning hijab is against ones freedom to live their lives the way they want to. One, along with other basic human rights should also have freedom of religion. A woman should be given the choice to cover her head, face or even her entire body if she wishes to. If there is no ban on nudity then there should be no ban on covering either. Hijab doesn’t hinder any activity or have any negative impact on anyone. Wearing hijab is one’s personal choice and thus it should be respected. Banning Safaa from playing in the soccer team merely because she covers her head is equivalent to taking part of her identity away from her. If you can’t force a non-Muslim to wear hijab, then you can’t force a Muslim to take off her scarf or suspend her because she wears hijab either. Soccer has nothing to do with religion. However, suspending one from playing a particular game due to his/her religious beliefs and practices is against the human rights charter. No matter how one clothes, danger always exists in playing any kind of sports. Thus I believe that human rights are above any law and Safaas suspension was unfair.

  3. As far as I can tell, this girl should be allowed to play with her hijab on. She’s proven through the previous five seasons that she is able to play with the hijab without sustaining any injuries. Furthermore, the “danger” that she is being warned against is strictly hypothetical – and an innocent that shouldn’t be happening during the game anyway. There is always risk in playing sports and even if she removes her hijab, she will still be at risk, just like every other player on the field.

  4. This seems incredibly extreme. Should soccer officials not be more worried about the fact that a 14 year old soccer player would grab another player’s clothing in the first place? There are so many aspects of soccer that could be considered dangerous. Getting kicked, anywhere, with the bottom of a cleat is incredibly painful. Are there any types of regulations on that? No. Using the same logic of someone pulling on her hijab and choking her, could the same not be done with a regular old soccer jersey?
    Yes. Canada has been quite tolerant of other cultures as of late. But I can’t help but feel like we will still find ways to pick on the minorities, and try to make them ‘more like us.’

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