The Qatar women's basketball team forfeited its game against Mongolia at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, after they were asked to remove their hijabs, or Islamic headscarfs. The hijab ban is an International Basketball Federation, or FIBA, rule and not from the Incheon Asian Games, or IAGOC, reports Reuters. The Qatar women's basketball team will also not participate in the Asian Games until FIBA changes its policy.
"Before attending the Asian Games, we were told that we would be able to participate in matches by wearing a hijab. However, the organizers of the Asian Games said to us that players with the hijab cannot play today's match," player Amal Mohamed A Mohamed said, reports Reuters.
— Qatar Basketball FD (@qatarbf) September 24, 2014
FIFA had a similar rule in place, citing safety concerns regarding accessories such as jewelry and headgear, but lifted the hijab ban earlier this year. The hijab ban was lifted after a two-year trial period in which players were allowed to wear a headscarf or turban.
While the hijab ban may have been lifted by other international organizations, and the IAGOC had no official ruling banning the headgear, the referees did not receive instructions allowing the use of hijabs and were following FIBA guidelines, reports the Associated Press. Participants in other Asian Games events, including in badminton and track and field, are allowed to wear hijabs. FIBA said it will institute a two-year trial, similar to FIFA's process, and will decide on a permanent change to the ban ahead of the 2016 Olympics.