The Parliament Blog

Sports Hijabs Help Muslim Women to Olympic Success

Photography credit to Ali Jarekji/Reuters.  The Guardian.

The Iranian women’s national football team wearing sport hijabs.

by Homa Khaleeli
from The Guardian

Amid the furore over the state of undress of one of the UK’s most successful female cyclists, the increasing aceptance of sportswear that allows Muslim women to compete has garnered little attention.

Earlier this month Fifa finally overturned its ban, brought in in 2007, on women playing football with their heads covered. The decision came too late for the Iranian football team. It had already prevented them from playing in their 2012 Olympic qualifying match last year and disappointed their female fans in the football-mad Islamic Republic, where women are not allowed to watch men’s matches and headscarves are mandatory for women. But the overturning of the ban was cheered by footballers around the world, some of whom, such as Australian Assmaah Helal, wear the hijab through choice.

London 2012 is the first Olympics where women will compete in all 26 sports on offer (although still in 30 fewer events in total), and Fifa is just one of several international bodies to relax clothing rules and so allow more Muslim women to compete in the Games. It’s impossible to know how many women will be competing with their head covered this year, but they include judo player Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim and Saudi Arabian runner Sarah Attar, as well as footballers.

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July 30th, 2012 at 10:55 am


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