01 June 2009

Canada Hijab Phobia Spreads to Judo & Newspapers


"I think they should change the rules because there are lots of different people in the world," said a tearful Outbih.

CAIRO — 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 kid was thrown out from a national judo tournament, the Toronto Sun reported on Sunday, 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).

"It has nothing to do with religion, it is a safety issue."

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.

Five Muslim players at the Taekwondo Club in Montreal were told in April they could not compete in a provincial tournament before taking off hijab.

The Quebec Federation of Taekwondo said the decision was taken for safety reason and was in compliance with the World Taekwondo Federation rules.

Two months earlier, an 11-year old Muslim girl was expelled by a referee from a soccer game in Ottawa for covering her hair.


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."

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.

Banning hijab-clad girls from national sporting events has infuriated Canadian Muslims, who make up nearly two percent of the country's 32.8 million population.

The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) insisted Muslims should not have to choose between their faith and sports.

In a bid to make up for the little girl, organizers offered Outbih a participation medal, which she politely declined.

"Because I didn't deserve it. If I keep it, it would just be bad memories," she said hugging her mom.

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."


  1. Asalaamu alaykum, hope you don't mind, I posted a link to your blog on mine. I thought other people ought to take a look at your blog. It is really insightful and enlightening, Mashallah =D

  2. Walykum Assalam, thanks a lot sister =)

  3. "Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations"

    What about the statement of muslim women dressing differently from non-believers and so making themselves known as muslim women? Sorry i cant remember reference from the Quran or hadith so these might not be the exact way to phrase it as i have, but you know what i am talking about? Allah knows best :))))

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