World basketball body lifts ban on yarmulkes, hijabs
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World basketball body lifts ban on yarmulkes, hijabs

New rule by FIBA will have largest impact on women from majority Muslim countries who seek to wear hijabs in international competitions

Maryland high school basketball player Je'Nan Hayes, who was left out of her team's final game of the season in March 2017 because she was wearing a hijab (YouTube screenshot)
Maryland high school basketball player Je'Nan Hayes, who was left out of her team's final game of the season in March 2017 because she was wearing a hijab (YouTube screenshot)

Basketball’s international governing body will allow players to wear yarmulkes, hijabs and other religious headgear beginning Oct. 1.

The new rule, announced Thursday in a statement by the International Basketball Association, or FIBA, will have the largest impact on women from majority Muslim countries who sought to wear the hijab in international competition.

The Qatar women’s team withdrew from the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea after being denied permission to wear the hijab on court, Reuters noted.

“The new rule comes as a result of the fact that traditional dress codes in some countries, which called for the head and/or entire body being covered, were incompatible with FIBA’s previous headgear rule,” according to the statement.

The decision overturns a 20-year ban on religious head coverings that was originally imposed for what the Swiss-based FIBA called safety reasons.

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