Hijab-wearing girl blocked from judo match

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s sport minister has ordered the agency that governs provincial sports to review a decision that banned an 11-year-old girl from a judo tournament because she wore a Muslim head scarf. “I’ve asked Sport Manitoba to become engaged here and find out what the deal is and come to a resolution in short order,” Eric Robinson told the Winnipeg Free Press yesterday.

Hagar Outbih left a judo tournament in tears Saturday when judo officials in Winnipeg refused to let her fight while wearing the hijab. The girl said she couldn’t believe sports officials would ban her because she wore a head scarf. Safety, not religious reasons, determined the decision, said Judo Manitoba president Dave Minuk. “It could be used to strangle somebody,” he said.

Canadian Press, 19 November 2007