|Egypt’s Eman Gaber PIC Reuters via Mail Online|
A basketball player who couldn’t represent her country drew attention once again to the challenges facing Muslim women who wish to wear the hijab while competing.
But that incident during the Asian Games is actually a blip. A very public blip but when you look around as more and more federations have accepted women’s choices.
And this interesting post from Shireen Ahmed over on Muslimah Media Watch points out Muslim women have quietly been going about getting their way in many countries – just off the Western radar.
‘There have been many, many Muslim women competing in athletics at an International level in various tournaments and competitions — most of it, unreported. Sertac Sehlikoglu, a PhD candidate in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge and my colleague at Muslim Women in Sports , has argued that a disproportionate amount of media attention has been garnered by hijab-wearing athletes over their non-covered Muslim sister athletes.’
That is fair – I know for myself it catches the eye. Maybe because I accepted input from Buddhism which is the religion dominating Muay Thai – I wore a mongkhon around my head at the start of fights, learned an elaborate dance to ‘seal off’ the ring before fights, learned how to “Wai” and respect teachers or judges in a way linked to a strong culture.
For commentators who have never experienced religion and sport together, seeing women like the Afghani boxers in last week’s Wordless Wednesday can be confronting at worst, and newsworthy at best.
Sports Hijabs in the news:
- Elham Seyed Javad talks to the Huff Post about her designs for sport
- Sales of hijabs suitable for sport in British stores House of Fraser
- History of sports federations opening up to women in hijabs internationally
- Shireen Ahmed on (western) media bias
- MuayThai fighter Ruqsana Begum with her sports-specific hijabs
My go-to blog for information on this topic is Muslim Women in Sports Sadly not up-dated very frequently now, it’s still a great resource.