Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Middle-school girls basketball league changes safety rules to allow hijab

It was initially ruled out as a safety risk, but safety be damned. Once again, where Islamic law and American laws and customs conflict, the latter must give way. Islamic supremacism in Maryland: "Headscarf causes controversy at basketball game," by Karen Gardner for the Frederick News-Post, January 18 (thanks to all who sent this in):

A Smithsburg girl who plays basketball for a middle-school age basketball league had to sit out the first half of a basketball game in Mount Airy on Saturday because a game official thought her headscarf was a potential safety risk.

The girl returned to the game for the second half of the game after officials decided that as long as the parents bore the responsibility for any safety risk, she could wear the headscarf, known as a hijab, in the game....

Daphnie Campbell, the league's coordinator, would not release the name of the girl. She is planning on meeting with the child's parents on Wednesday.

Jim Shannon, the former coordinator of the league and now the league's scheduler, said the official who initially told the girl she couldn't play with the headscarf did it because the headscarf wraps around the neck.

"The idea is the kids could suffer a neck injury," Shannon said.

Girls age 14 and under aren't likely to have a problem, he said.

"These kids are not as big and strong and as fast as the high school kids," Shannon said.

Parents must assume any responsibility for risk, he said.

Campbell said she plans to put something in the league's by-laws that will allow for such religious expressions, as long as parents assume responsibility for any risk.

"It does need to be put in place," she said. "I've never had this type of situation come up. I'm new and still learning about this."

Oh, you can be sure there will be many more lessons.

After the game, an unidentified parent approached the referee who initially ruled the Smithsburg girl out of the game. The parent was unhappy with the referee's action. The parent was told not to interact with the referee and to refer any disagreement to the league's coordinator.

"We don't want to see a parent approach an official," Campbell said....

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