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Hijab-clad soccer girl turfed. Coach pulls team from tournament

Anonymous Coward
User ID: 137330
United States
02/26/2007 08:15 AM
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Hijab-clad soccer girl turfed. Coach pulls team from tournament
Hijab-clad soccer girl turfed

Muslim girl forced to leave field for wearing head scarf


Asmahan Mansour, 11, third from right, is surrounded by her teammates from the Nepean Hotspurs competitive team. Asmahanís team withdrew from a tournament in Laval yesterday after she was told she could not wear her hijab on the field. (Luc Belisle/Sun Media)

Coach lauded for 'Canadian move'

Dismayed that a referee wouldn't allow a player on the pitch wearing a traditional Islamic head scarf, an Ottawa coach pulled his team from a massive indoor soccer tournament in Laval, Que., yesterday and vowed never to return to the tournament.

"It was a no-brainer," Louis Maneiro said before leaving the ARS Laval National tourney with his girls under-12 competitive team. "I said, 'That's it, we're not playing.' "


Controversy erupted during the Nepean Hotspurs' third game of the tournament when the team's second line stepped onto the field.

The referee said 11-year-old striker Asmahan Mansour couldn't play because she was wearing a hijab.

After trying to reason with the ref and the tournament convener, Maneiro pulled his team from the remaining games, with full support from the players and their parents.

A tournament organizer said not allowing players to wear hijabs is a safety concern, not a religious one.

"It is not at all a question of religion," Carole Fortin said. "The referee of the match is himself a Muslim. There is no place for racism here."

Asmahan started wearing the hijab when she was nine, a decision she made on her own.

The Muslim girl said the kurfuffle during yesterday's game was "weird," especially since she had no problems with referees in the team's two previous games on Saturday.

Asmahan said it's a "blessing" to wear the hijab and she would never take it off to play soccer, "not even for a million dollars." She was initially angry about all the fuss, but she said later in the day she got over it.

Her mother, Maria Mansour, said "it broke my heart" to see her daughter at the centre of controversy.

Asmahan has never encountered discrimination in the past and up until yesterday, she has never had problems with wearing the hijab during a soccer game, Maria said.

Asmahan said the experience in Laval won't stop her from playing soccer.

The Canadian Soccer Association wouldn't comment directly on the incident, but Joe Guest, director of referees, said "the CSA promotes fair play amongst its officials to ensure that they provide the opportunity for all to partake safely in the sport."

Maneiro was planning to go over the day's events with the Nepean club's executive last night, but he already made one decision.

"As a team we're not coming back here," Maneiro said before leaving Laval.


Coach lauded for 'Canadian move'


Hijab-clad soccer girl turfed

An Islamic community leader is hailing a Nepean soccer coach's decision to pull his team from a Laval tournament after a player was not allowed on the field because she was wearing a traditional head scarf.

Imam Dr. Zijad Delic, executive director of the Canadian Islamic Congress, called the coach's decision a "Canadian move."

"I really congratulate a coach for such an action," Delic said. "He represents true Canadian values."

Delic also credited the other girls on the team for sticking up for their teammate.

Louis Maneiro pulled his Nepean Hotspurs girls under-12 team from a major indoor soccer tournament yesterday after a referee sent a player off the field because she was wearing a hijab. Asmahan Mansour, 11, has worn the hijab since she was nine.

Delic said it's the first time he has heard of a female soccer player in Canada being denied organized play because of her hijab.


"The hijab doesn't present any threat whatsoever to any of the other players," Delic said. "It is a question of religious representation, and for that reason I feel it's very discriminatory and definitely goes against basic rules that this referee should know."

A recent Leger Marketing poll for Sun Media on racism and tolerance showed 37% of respondents think wearing a veil poses a problem and another 25% take issue with wearing religious ornaments.

Delic said Muslims are trying to protect their basic rights, as afforded to every Canadian.

User ID: 167681
02/26/2007 08:27 AM
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Re: Hijab-clad soccer girl turfed. Coach pulls team from tournament
It should be simple. If you believe wearing Hijab complies with your beliefs, wear it. If it doesn't comply with your beliefs don't. But don't force others to comply with your beliefs.
Over the side and damn the barracuda