- The Federation called the ban an attack on sportswomen from around the world, not just Muslim athletes hoping to represent France at Paris 2024.
- It warned that the French position could send a message of exclusion, intolerance, and discrimination.
The Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation has expressed ‘profound concern’ over the French government’s decision to ban its athletes from wearing a hijab during the Olympic Games, warning that the French position could send a message of ‘exclusion, intolerance and discrimination
“The hijab is an aspect of many Muslim women’s identity and should be respected,” a statement from the Athletes Commission of the 57-member international organization, based in Riyadh, posted on Facebook read.
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“This ban not only infringes upon the religious freedom of French Muslim athletes but could also deny them the opportunity to participate in the Olympics, representing their country and inspiring others.”
French Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra announced last month that the country’s athletes will not wear the hijab during Paris 2024.
“We believe this contradicts the principles of equality, inclusivity, and respect for cultural diversity that the Olympics stand for,” the statement added.
Attack on Sportswomen
The ISSF called the ban an attack on sportswomen from around the world, not just Muslim athletes hoping to represent France at Paris 2024. It also urged the French government to reconsider the ban.
“It contradicts the progress made by the International Olympic Committee in promoting gender equality and inclusivity in sports,” it added.
“The Olympics have historically celebrated diversity, unity, and athletic excellence,
“By implementing a hijab ban for their athletes, a host would send a message of exclusion, intolerance, and discrimination that goes against the Olympic spirit.”
“The Olympics should be a platform where athletes from all backgrounds unite, inspire, and foster understanding among nations.”
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
What Muslim women choose to wear is a controversial topic in France. In 2004, it banned hijab in public schools, and in 2010, it became the first European nation to ban burqa, which covers a woman’s face.
Last week, a spokeswoman for the UN Human Rights Office said, “No one should impose on a woman what she needs to wear or not wear.”