After several Muslim girls were banned from playing with their football teams for donning hijab, the controversy was spreading to a new sport after 11-year-old girl was thrown out from a national judo tournament, reports said on November 18.
“He said that I can’t fight. If I want to fight I have to take it off or I have to leave,” Hagar Outbih said while bursting into tears after the tournament’s judge refused to allow her to play in the city of Winnipeg.
Dave Minuk, also Judo president in the Canadian province of Manitoba, made the ruling only minutes before Outbih was to begin her match. He claimed her hijab breaks the guidelines of the International Judo Federation (IJF). But according to the Canadian Television (CTV), there is no mention of barring hijab for safety concerns in the rules published on the IJF’s website. Minuk’s ruling is the latest episode of a hijab phobia in Canadian sports.
Visibly shaking with tears strolling down her face, Outbih hugged her mother as she watched other players step into the Winnipeg gym. “As a mom I feel so bad that my daughter would go through this,” said Khadaja while trying to console her kid. The father was also dismayed, feeling unable to help his weeping daughter. “Just explain to (the referee) you need to keep it on. That you have the right to keep it,” he advised her just before little Outbih was disqualified. “This is discrimination.”
The 11-year-old wished that sports would accommodate people of all backgrounds. “I think they should change the rules because there are lots of different people in the world. There are not just Christians. There are other religions and it should be fair for everybody.”
Banning hijab-clad girls from national sporting events has infuriated Canadian Muslims, who make up nearly two per cent of the country’s 32.8 million population.