New sports hijabs hit the hardwood at Winnipeg high school
Published Tuesday, October 17, 2017 10:55AM EDT
Two Muslim high school students are sidelining controversy with an innovative addition to their school basketball uniforms -- sports hijabs complete with their team logo.
The student-led initiative at Winnipeg’s Dakota Collegiate is believed to be the second of its kind in Canada.
Amina Mohamed started bouncing around the idea to seek out a more functional design for her religious headwear after an official called her aside before a game last year.
“There was a little controversy about the pin that I usually put in here,” she told CTV Winnipeg, gesturing to the side of her scarf. “There was concern about the hazard of it. They didn’t know whether I should wear it or not. But, regarding my religion, I would prefer to wear it, and I wouldn’t take it off.”
Worried other Muslim girls were avoiding sports because they did not want to choose between athletics and their faith, Amina teamed up with her sister Nusaybah. Their solution was a simple one: find a functional design, and put their school logo on it.
“We can, first of all, show our school spirit, but also include the Muslim women that may think they cannot play a sport because of the attire,” Amina said.
Dakota Collegiate placed a custom order online for scarves featuring the Lancer logo in colours to match the school’s black and gold uniforms.
“We’re the second school to have done it in Canada, which is super exciting,” Nusaybah said. “It’s lighter, and it’s easier to use. It’s a lot shorter, so it’s super quick to slip on.”
The sisters’ coach said wearing a hijab has never been an issue for any of his players. He estimates approximaetly 50 students at the school wear some form of religious headwear.
The International Basketball Federation, the global body that oversees the sport at the professional level, lifted its ban on head coverings this past summer.
Dakota Lancers coach Eric Sung said the availability of sports-focused headwear will hopefully see a more diverse selection of athletes hit the hard court at both the high school and professional levels.
“You’re going to see more athletes feeling more confident wearing the hijab, and playing, and trying to be an elite athlete,” he said.
Amina, now a graduate, hopes her legacy at the school will encourage more Muslim women to embrace their athletic side without hesitation.
“I’m excited for the girls that are here, including my little sister that is in Grade 11 right now,” she said. “I know there are other Muslim women that want to play sports.”
With a report from CTV Winnipeg’s Sarah Plowman