January 29, 2010

No hijab for female basketball player

by Benjamin Graham

A female basketball player in Switzerland has had her appeal to wear an Islamic headscarf during matches denied.

The case of nineteen-year-old Sura al-Shawk, a Swiss citizen, went to court after the basketball association (ProBasket) told her she could not wear a headscarf while she was playing.

A local court in Lucerne upheld ProBasket’s decision on safety grounds, ruling that ProBasket’s safety guidelines should take precedence over the religious obligations of players.

ProBasket argued in court that it was upholding the rules of FIBA, the international governing body for basketball, by enforcing the headscarf ban.

It also said that the sport needs to remain religiously neutral.

The court noted that by ruling in favour of ProBasket it was placing limits on al-Shawk’s personal freedom.

She has ten days to decide whether she will appeal the decision.

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