Muslim Council of Montreal dismayed over intolerant ban of turbans by the QSFJune 3, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Montreal, Quebec, June 3rd, 2013 - The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) expressed its disappointment today over the recent decision from the Quebec Soccer Federation (QSF) to uphold its year-old ban on turbans."It is ridiculous for turbans to be banned in Quebec due to alleged safety concerns, while they are safely worn on the field by soccer players throughout the rest of Canada," said Salam Elmenyawi, president of MCM. "This is an unjust targeting of observant Sikhs, just as Muslim soccer players wearing hijab were similarly targeted by a QSF ban in the past few years. Such intolerance and discrimination should have no place on the field, as sports should be used as a tool to foster social cohesion and harmony. If safety is indeed a concern, then the QSF should work with Sikh communities to resolve this issue, instead of simply banning innocent children from partaking in the sport."
The QSF ban is expected to affect an estimated 100-200 boys in the Montreal region. In addition to turbans, it also includes keskis (smaller turbans) and patkas (small pieces of cloth tied to the head). The ban ignores a directive issued by the Canadian Soccer Association in April, asking for all provincial soccer associations to allow the wearing of turbans on the field, to ensure that soccer be "accessible to everyone."
In 2007, the QSF issued a similar ban against the wearing of hijabs during soccer games, citing guidelines laid down by Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), which prohibited the wearing of clothing that may endanger the safety of a player. Again, such a ban was only in place in Quebec, with other provincial soccer associations across the country allowing the wearing of the hijab on the field. FIFA overturned the 2007 ban on hijabs in 2012, after testing and approving a line of sports hijabs, which would allow Muslim players to cover safely while on the field. The QSF reversed in ban a year later in 2013.
Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM)
Ph.: (514) 748-8427
The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) is an umbrella organization representing a number of Islamic institutions in the Montreal region. There are over 300,000 Muslims in Montreal, about 1,250,000 in Canada and 1.9 billion worldwide.