Friday, 26 September 2014 11:49
Reuters: The issue of religious freedom took centre stage at the Asian Games on Wednesday when Qatari women forfeited a basketball game after refusing to remove the Islamic head scarf, dealing another blow to an event that trumpets diversity and inclusiveness.
Organisers of Incheon’s Asian Games, which have welcomed 9,500 athletes from 45 countries across the length and breadth of the world’s most populous continent, said their hands were tied by International Basketball Federation (FIBA) regulations.
Qatari player Ahlam Salem M. Al-Mana said the team had decided to send a strong message to the governing body by refusing to take the court against Mongolia.
“We have to take this stand,” she said. “We knew about the hijab ban, but we have to be here. We have to show everyone that we are ready to play, but the international association is not ready.”
The row overshadowed another lively day of action in Incheon, where China’s gold rush hit full stride and South Korea tightened their grip on second place ahead of rivals Japan.