Racial Tension Could Flare in Wake of New Hijab Ban

April 16, 2007

Source: The Province


LONGUEUIL, Que. -- A taekwondo team of Muslim girls withdrew from a tournament yesterday after they were barred from taking part with their hijabs, threatening to re-ignite Quebec's contentious debate about accommodating religious minorities.

"I feel very sad because we practised so hard," said 11-year-old Bissan Mansour. "We pulled out for a useless reason."

Referees at the Quebec regional Raymond Mourad Championship met yesterday morning, the first day of the tournament, to talk about rules and regulations.

During the discussion, it was brought up that a team from a Muslim community centre in Montreal would be competing with their hijabs.

"The equipment that is allowed under the World Taekwondo Federation rules doesn't include the hijab," said international referee Stephane Menard.

"We applied the rules to the letter."