Monday, March 05, 2007

Soccer and the headscarf

What difference does it make if an eleven year old girl plays soccer wearing a headscarf?

Those who suggest it has something to do with 'safety' are blowing smoke. It doesn't.

This whole incident has to do with conformity. Those who've come down against the headscarf in this case are expecting this kid and her family to conform to 'Canadian' norms. They aren't interested in whether the headscarf interferes with the girl's play or if by some weird fluke it could become part of some entangled mess that could strangle her or limit her vision -- because neither is a reasonable concern. The game is being supervised and watched by dozens of adults. A yank on the headscarf is no more likely to injure or kill this girl than a tug to the hair, and one would have to have an expansive imagination to concoct a scenario where a headscarf could hurt someone other than the wearer. Where is the risk?

Rules are rules. Nonsense.

Rules are bent and changed all the time to fit in with the reasonable expectations of participants. Prior to this incident there was no rule about headscarves. There was a rule about jewelry, which makes sense. Jewelry is optional and decorative. It is not generally part of a religious tradition or custom. It could be ripped off during play causing harm to the wearer or it could cut another player coming in contact. Injuries are unlikely, but because there is a certain potential for harm when a person wears a ring, bracelet, earrings or a necklace while playing sports, the rule is not unreasonable. This non-rule regarding headscarves has only become an issue because the ref decided to make it one. Yes, I am aware he is Muslim, but that doesn't preclude him from being a jerk on a power trip.

I do wonder if the headscarf is so important to this girl for religious reasons, is she wearing long pants or something to cover her legs, but either way, I still believe a ban on headscarves is unfair.

I also wonder if Sikh boys or men have faced this problem? Anyone know?