Entries in Hijab (3)


Weightlifting Organization Modifies Clothing Rule for Muslim Women

Thomas Northcut/Thinkstock(PANANG, Malaysia) -- Disputes over what female Muslim athletes can wear have arisen in soccer, swimming, track, gymnastics and, most recently, weightlifting, putting the athletes in the difficult situation of having to choose between their religion and their sport. But on Wednesday, a compromise was reached in weightlifting.

The International Weightlifting Federation announced from Malaysia that it would modify the rules for athletic attire to allow athletes to wear a "one piece full body tight fitted 'unitard' under the compulsory weightlifting costume."

This decision comes after Muslim weightlifter Kulsoom Abdullah from Atlanta was on the brink of qualifying for the American Open tournament last year when she was eliminated for wearing her hijab. She was told it could be dangerous and potentially give her an unfair advantage as judges might not be able to tell if her arms were locked.

The hijab complies with her religious beliefs that she must be completely covered, with the exception of her face, hands and feet. Abdullah, 35, would not compete without it.

In a statement Wednesday, Abdullah said, "This is a great victory. I am hopeful for more participation in sports for women....I hope other sporting organizations will follow this example to allow greater inclusion and participation in their respective sport. One example is FIFA's disqualification of the Iranian women's team."

The Iranian women's soccer team was disqualified from a match against Jordan for next year's Olympics due to their headscarves. A FIFA official said that the headscarves violated their rules for dress and that, for safety reasons, women's necks cannot be covered.

When Abdullah was disqualified, she teamed up with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which asked both USA Weightlifting and the United States Olympic Committee to advocate for her on behalf of all women who wish to compete.

Each sport has a governing body; for weightlifting, the final decision had to come from the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).

In the news release announcing the decision, the IWF wrote, "The newly approved competition costume modification promotes and enables a more inclusive sport environment and breaks down barriers to participation."

Dr. Tamas Ajan, IWF president and honorary member of the International Olympic Committee, said, "Weightlifting is an Olympic sport open for all athletes to participate without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age or national origin."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Muslim Women Arrested for Defying France's Burqa Ban

Abid Katib/Getty Images(PARIS) -- Muslim women defied France's new ban on full-face veils Monday and at least two protesters were arrested outside Notre Dame cathedral for wearing the traditional masks, which the French president has called "a sign of enslavement."

Three women wearing niqabs -- a veil that leaves just a slit for the eyes -- joined a protest of about a dozen people outside the famous Paris cathedral, saying the ban violates their freedom of religion. Two of the women were arrested and charged with staging an unauthorized protest.

It was unclear whether the women would be fined the $215 penalty the law imposes for wearing a veil.

There are some five million Muslims living in France, but only about 2,000 women are estimated to wear the now outlawed veils. Many of those women have vowed to defy the ban.

The ban implemented Monday comes two years after French President Nicolas Sarkozy first suggested outlawing the veils.

The penalty for forcing a woman to wear a veil is far stiffer than that for a woman caught wearing one. People found forcing a woman to cover her face are subject to a $43,000 fine and up to a year in prison.

Many opponents of the ban say it violates the country's religious freedom statutes.

Head scarves are still legal, but the niqab and burqa, from which women peer out through a screen, are banned.

France is the first country to implement such a ban. Italy is mulling a similar law.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


French Burqa Ban Takes Effect

Abid Katib/Getty Images(PARIS) -- They are an unusual sight on the fashion forward streets of Paris. Muslim women covered head to toe, even much of their faces concealed. And starting Monday,  the French government plans to make this religious garb even rarer.

“It shocks the French culture deeply,” said Jacques Myard, a conservative member of French Parliament. “Because never in our history, any person, male or female, has got a cloth on her face.’’

The French Parliament passed a new and controversial law forbidding women to cover their faces in public. Women wearing the burqa will be warned, then fined about $200. There's a $43,000 fine for any man caught forcing a woman to wear the burqa or cover her face.

The French government argues that the clothing violates the principles of equality for its citizens and poses a threat to public safety. Criminals in the past have used the burqa for cover.

What’s happening in France might be a model for countries trying to push back against the influx of Islamic culture.  Sarkozy says the clothing is “not a religious symbol. It is a sign of enslavement .”

But many Muslim women disagree, saying that the burqa is a sign of modesty and symbolizes their respect for God.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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