Les Hijabeuses: Muslim women footballers tackle French hijab ban

Source: Al Jazeera

Women from the Parisian suburbs that produced Pogba and Mbappé say French Football Federation rules are discriminatory.

By Alexander Durie; 13 Sep 2021

Paris, France – Since she was six, Karthoum Dembelé has played football with her older brother and his friends between housing estates in the Parisian banlieues – or suburbs.

Huge football talents have broken out from these neighbourhoods in recent years, including Pogba, Mbappé, and Kanté.

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Here, where street football is king, is where Dembelé fell in love with football.

But now, aged 19, her optimism has dimmed.

Not because of a lack of talent or injuries, but because of French politics. As a Muslim woman wearing the hijab, Dembelé is not allowed to play in most sport competitions in France, including football.

The French Football Federation (FFF) maintains a ban on the wearing of “conspicuous religious symbols” despite FIFA lifting its own hijab ban in 2014.

Debates around what Muslim women can or cannot wear have resurfaced lately in France with the controversial “anti-separatism” bill, enacted into French law on August 24.

French MPs tried to use the bill to formally ban the wearing of headscarves in all sport competitions, though this was deemed unconstitutional by lawmakers on June 9.

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Categories: Hijab

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