I meant to post this on my blog as soon as it happened Saturday: FIFA has consented and women who want to wear a piece of cloth on their head while they play football.... can!
FiFA To Test Hijabs For Female Muslim Players
If you choose to read comments on this article, or any article about this, be prepared for the equation that allowing the hijab on a football (soccer) field = male oppression. In a round about way, if women are only wearing hijab because they are being forced to (in which case they are probably being forced to stay at home as well), then indeed we are talking male oppression.
Other comments, and even the posting of this particular article in the religion section of the paper rather than the sports section, make the wearing of hijab to be a purely religious statement, forcing the rest (or West) of the world to bow to Muslim antiquated traditions, and their so-called "takeover". Interestingly, many Muslim men and women don't even agree on how much coverage hijab means, and most of the women just want to play a sport with other while dressing modestly, according to their understanding of what modesty means.
One comment that I read pointed out that if it were Christian women wanting to play in a headcovering, the responses would be quite different. And to a certain extent they would. For one thing, shock that "Christian" women would actually choose to wear a headcovering, when the law of Christ says that Christians can pretty much do whatever they want (no, I don't believe this, but that is the prevailing sentiment, don't you think?). Christian women, and Jewish women, who do choose to cover, don't in general make a big deal out of getting involved in sports or appearing in court or other places, I suppose, and so don't make the news about their own personal choice to cover their hair or head in public.
Here's the thing: these women want to play football, and they want to wear modest clothes while they do it. What is the big deal? Fear of the unknown.
Many people still don't understand the choice to cover up out of modesty and in deference to a creator God. They don't understand that Islam is as divided and multifaceted as the other of the "big three" Abrahamic faiths (that is, those who admit to believing in One God, the God of Abraham), and so any claims as to what these girls, or their husbands or fathers believe, is pure guesswork on the part of the ignorant.
The same goes for many of us girls who choose to cover: people who don't understand merely accuse, and falsely. Why is such a little thing - dressing modestly, putting something on our heads as we pray - such a big deal? Because of what it seems to represent? Oppression, slavery, hate, religious intolerance? Or because of what it really does represent? - Respect for "a Higher Power" who created us and knows what's best for us; and a respect for other people by downplaying ourselves?