First, there was the soccer controversy, now it's a Tae Kwon Do team
Canadian Press - Sunday, April 15, 2007
A Tae Kwon Do team of mainly Muslim girls says it was kicked out of tournament south of Montreal today because its members refused to remove their hijabs.
Tournament organizers told team officials that the girls can’t compete because the Muslim head scarves are a safety risk.
The team, made up of girls 8 and 12 years old, is affiliated with a Muslim community centre in Montreal.
Asmahan Mansour's soccer team pulled out of a national indoor soccer championship in Laval in February after the 11-year-old was told she could not wear her hijab during the game.
They say the centre’s boys team is now refusing to participate in the tournament in an act of solidarity.
Officials with the team say they will continue to lobby tournament organizers in hopes they will reverse their decision.
Quebec has been embroiled in recent months in an ongoing debate about accommodations for minorities.
A female soccer team from Nepean, Ont., forfeited a tournament in Laval on Feb. 25 after the referee ordered a player to remove her hijab.
Four other youth soccer teams from Ottawa also forfeited their games and left the field in protest. The Nepean Hotspurs Selects, a girl's soccer team made up of 18 sixth-graders, walked off the indoor playing surface after a referee ordered Asmahan Mansour to take off her hijab because he felt it was a physical threat to the other players.
It was the first time she had been asked to take off her hijab.
"I don't understand why I can't play," she said by telephone from the sidelines after her team withdrew from the tournament. "This is so sad. It's my religion."