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Young Geoffrey

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Lousy Journalism, Lazy Journalism [Feb. 26th, 2007|06:13 am]
Young Geoffrey
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This story both delighted and irritated me.

In a nutshell, a Muslim girl was thrown out of a soccer tournament for wearing a hijab - apparently the headscarf is banned by the Quebec Soccer Association on grounds of safety, "...to protect children from being accidentally strangled."

I'll leave the question of the risk of being strangled by a hijab during a soccer game to the experts. But I want to talk about is the story itself - or rather, about how it was written.

Most of it was told as a human-interest piece - how the girl felt, how the coach felt, how the girl's team-mates felt. The girl's team withdrew from the tournament in protest, apparently with the full backing of the team itself.

To me, the real story here was alluded to in the second paragraph and then never mentioned again.

Calling the rule banning the headscarf worn by Muslim women racist, four other teams followed Asmahan Mansour's team, the Nepean Selects from Ottawa, after she was thrown out for running afoul of a Quebec Soccer Association rule.

That sports leagues have rules about proper attire is not news. That a team withdraws from a tournament because one of its players was ejected is minor news. That four other teams in the tournament also withdrew to support another team's player is interesting news.

Why no interviews with players from other teams?

The CBC's headline was, "Muslim girl ejected from tournament for wearing hijab". Shouldn't it have been, "Four other teams support Muslim girl's right to wear hijab"?

That's the story! Jesus, somebody get re-write on the phone ...

[User Picture]From: fadefromnothing
2007-02-26 02:50 pm (UTC)
That is definately interesting, but I'll share an example. I used to attend a strict, fanatical (by now, thankfully shut-down) Islamic school in Mississauga when I first arrived in Canada, thanks to my grandmother's persistence.

The uniform was a white hijab, an uncomfortable full-sleeved sweater, an ankle-length gray wool skirt and thick white tights. The Peel Board had recently mandated a compulsary phys-ed program into seperate schools at the time, so all of us were to run around, and for the sake of modesty, remain in that atrociously uncomfortable get-up during that time.

So, the boys would wear t-shirts and shorts, and run around outside with their soccer balls, while we had to remain in the stuffy, non-air-conditioned 'gym' inside (carpeted) and were expected to play with the same agility and endurance that the boys were able to.

Needless to say, that didn't last too long. My case however, involved having to do something against my will in clothing I was not too fond of donning, the alternative being a failing grade. On the other hand, I salute this young woman's persistence, as well as the actions of her peers.

You might be interested to know that I wore a hijab till I was 13, out of my own will. My father was highly opposed to it because he felt it made me fanatical, and my mother had a difficult time getting used to it. When I decided that Islam wasn't for me, my father rejoiced and my mother complained like you wouldn't believe, it was an interesting experience.


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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2007-02-27 01:12 am (UTC)

Back to the Benefits of Being a Heathen!

Oi, the insanity ... The more I think about it, the more I find myself agreeing with Richard Dawkins that indoctrinating a child into any religion is abusive, plain and siimple.

But I digress to rant.

On the other hand, I salute this young woman's persistence, as well as the actions of her peers.

I actually salute her peers with more enthusiasm, simply because it may be the girl (I say "girl", because I get the sense we're talking 10-12 year-olds) has been brain-washed. And also, because her peers (particularly those on the other teams) were apparently making what for them must have been a significant sacrifice, on what I would like to think was a matter of principle.

You might be interested to know that I wore a hijab till I was 13, out of my own will.

I am interested to know that. As an atheist raised by atheists, I can only imagine what is involved in throwing off a faith in which one was brought up. I remember shocking my kindergarten class by speaking up during some kind of class discussion to say, "I don't believe in God", but I had never been "churched" and no one I respected had ever had the chance to fill my mind with those sort of ideas, so it was easy for me.

P.P.S. SCRABBLE - Next Monday?
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[User Picture]From: rev_jo
2007-02-26 05:13 pm (UTC)
i would be interested in seeing what the dress code entails in full, as in, are players not allowed to wear yarmulkes or other religious articles as well. if its a blanket-ban on such things due to impracticality during play, i can understand, but if they are singling her out for a headscarf, then i don't agree at all.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2007-02-27 01:13 am (UTC)


The worry about "strangulation" sounds like a red-herring, since according to the article, the Ontario soccer league doesn't think it's an issue.
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From: spells_disaster
2007-02-27 07:12 am (UTC)

Re: Agreed

Something about the article you mentioned got me thinking. It hasnt sat well with me all day, but Ive been up to my eyeballs in work...
I googled hijabb and the word strangle, and found something alarming, that may be that red herring. nothing particularly shocking, but more disgusting in terms of behavior. it seems theres an awful lot of hate crimes happening towards muslim women in both QC and to a lesser extent Ottawa.
Though, I have a feeling that was ommited from the article... (or so I assume), I preferred your commentary to reading the "news" anyway
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