Qatar women’s basketball team quits Asian Games over hijab ban

Thursday September 25th, 2014

The Qatari women's basketball team withdrew from the Asian Games in South Korea to protest FIBA’s rules banning them from wearing Muslim headscarves in competition, the Associated Press reports.

Just last week, FIBA said that players will be allowed to wear religious head coverings on a trial basis during some competitions, but the Asian Games are not one of those events.

Qatar was scheduled to play Nepal on Thursday, but did not show up to the arena. On Wednesday, officials did not allow the women to wear head coverings in their opening game against Mongolia, so they surrendered the game.

"We're not forfeiting games — we're not being allowed to play," Qatar delegation leader Khalid al-Jabir said. “On the one hand, everyone wants more women to participate in these games and, on the other hand, they're discouraging Muslim women who want to play in hijab."

Previous rules allowed players to wear approved headbands to hold back hair and sweat. Players will now be allowed to wear coverings, such as hijabs or turbans, on the court. 

- Scooby Axson

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