International Basketball Federation Is Going To Finally Allow Hijabs

Source: Huffington Post

By Travis Waldron, who is a sports and politics reporter at The Huffington Post, based in Washington D.C. He covers the intersection of sports and politics, policy and cultural issues.

After years of controversy, FIBA has lifted its ban on religious headwear.

After three years of calls for change, the International Basketball Federation ratified rules on Thursday to allow athletes to wear traditional religious headwear during games.

FIBA, basketball’s international governing body, had been considering the change since the Qatari women’s basketball team withdrew from the Asian Games in September 2014 because players were not allowed to wear hijabs on the court. FIBA had also prevented Sikh men from wearing turbans and Jewish men from wearing yarmulkes during games.

FIBA instituted a two-year trial period in 2014, during which some athletes were granted exceptions to don religious headwear during games.

The organization justified its policy by arguing that the headwear could pose dangers to the athletes. But it left some players in a “holding pattern” as they sought to play in international competitions, Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir said in 2014. Abdul-Qaadir, a Muslim American woman who wore hijab while playing college basketball at Indiana State University, said the ban prevented her from seeking a professional contract in Europe.After three years of calls for change, the International Basketball Federation ratified rules on Thursday to allow athletes to wear traditional religious headwear during games.

FIBA, basketball’s international governing body, had been considering the change since the Qatari women’s basketball team withdrew from the Asian Games in September 2014 because players were not allowed to wear hijabs on the court. FIBA had also prevented Sikh men from wearing turbans and Jewish men from wearing yarmulkes during games.

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