Source: The Globe and Mail
MONTREAL — When news came that young Muslim girls had been turned away from a tae kwon do competition in Quebec because they wore Islamic head scarves, one of the people upset was the former dean of engineering of the University of Ottawa.
Aside from being an electrical engineer, Tyseer Aboulnasr is a hijab-wearing black belt in tae kwon do, a mother of two who began practising martial arts in her 40s.
While she understands that officials at the FÃ©dÃ©ration de Tae kwondo du QuÃ©bec are applying their rules to the letter, she feels that they are betraying the sport's spirit of inclusiveness.
"Honestly, when I heard about it, I thought, this is unbelievable," she said yesterday.
Dr. Aboulnasr's embrace of tae kwon do is a rebuke to the traditional image of hijab-wearing Muslim women as people from a cloistered, inward-looking community.
The Egyptian-born 52-year-old is one of the rare women, let alone Muslim women, to have been a dean in such a male-dominated academic field as engineering.