The Qatar women’s basketball team pull out of Asian Games over hijab ban.
In the latest controversy that has hit the Asian Games 2014, held in Incheon, South Korea, the Qatar women’s basketball team have pulled out of the tournament over a hijab (head scarf worn by Muslim women) ban. The Qatar women’s team forfeited the match against Mongolia at the last moment when they were told by officials that they would not be allowed to wear the hijab during the game.
The World basketball regulations prohibits any kind of headgear and accessories during a basketball game. With officials giving no signs of relaxing the law before Qatar’s next match against Nepal, the Qatar women’s basketball team decided to pull out of the tournament.
Basketball is the only sport that has reservations against wearing the hijab in the Asian Games. The Iranian lightweight women’s quadruple sculls team won a bronze in the event and participated wearing the hijab.
Unless the International Basketball Federation steps in and makes some drastic rule changes, it seems like the boycott by the Qatar women’s team is here to stay. One of the Qatari player Amal Mohamed A Mohamed said that the team was assured that they will be allowed to play the games wearing the hijab. She also added that the team would not participate in further matches unless the Asian Games officials overturn their decision to ban hijabs during the games.
Earlier this year in May, FIFA lifted the ban on the hijab and announced that players could wear the hijab or a turban while playing a game.