Muslim women now will be able to compete in basketball while wearing a hijab, thanks to a rule change by the international governing body for the sport.
The ruling, which takes effect Oct. 1, is the culmination of a study by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) that began in September 2014 and follows a trend in which more governing bodies are allowing athletes to balance their religious beliefs with their athletic pursuits. FIFA, the world’s soccer governing body, has allowed players to wear a hijab since early 2014.
“The Central Board approved a proposal put forward by the Technical Commission for a new rule that will allow headgear to be worn by players,” FIBA said in a statement. “The new rule was developed in order to minimize the risk of injuries and preserve consistency of the color of the uniform.”
That revises an earlier rule that said players could not “wear equipment (objects) that may cause injury to other players.” Specifically, “headgear, hair accessories and jewelry” were not permitted.
— Shirzanan (@Shirzanan1) April 13, 2017
Increasingly, the people who make the rules are changing with the times. Recently, USA Boxing cleared the way for Amaiya Zafar, a young Muslim boxer in Minnesota, to enter amateur bouts while wearing a hijab. USA Boxing’s executive director, Mike McAtee, said in a statement emailed to The Post that it is “in the process of amending our competition rules specifically to accommodate the clothing and grooming mandates of our boxers’ religions. These rules will provide exemptions so that athletes like Ms. Zafar are allowed to box without running afoul of their beliefs.” USA Boxing plans to consider exemptions on an individual basis, but McAtee went on to point out that boxers who hope to compete internationally must do so under rules set by the International Boxing Association (AIBA).
FIBA’s decision came after growing demands from around the world, including a Change.org petition that received more than 130,000 signatures and a social media campaign with the hashtag #FIBAAllowHijab.
Clearly, Nike sees a market. The sports apparel behemoth is introducing a Pro Hijab line, with personalized fits and designs tailored to specific sports.
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