Indian Olympian withdraws from Iran event due to compulsory hijab rule

Published October 30th, 2016 - 12:35 GMT
Indian pistol shooter Heena Sinhu has withdrawn from the Asian Airgun shooting championship set to be held in Iran. (AFP/File)
Indian pistol shooter Heena Sinhu has withdrawn from the Asian Airgun shooting championship set to be held in Iran. (AFP/File)

In defiance of Iran’s controversial hijab rule for all women athletes, Indian pistol shooter Heena Sinhu has pulled out of the Asian Airgun shooting championship that is set to be hosted in Tehran in December.

The former world number one Olympian had written to the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) about her decision of withdrawing from the competition, and on Saturday she took to twitter to confirm the reports. In a series of tweets, she explained her decision to withdraw, arguing that the enforcement of the hijab was not in the spirit of sport.  

Many social media users have come out in support of Siduh, and what they see as a move that champions women’s rights

 

However, Sidhu’s decision has also been criticised, with some accusing her of holding double standards and arguing that she should be respectful of the cultures and traditions of other countries:

 

Since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, wearing a headscarf is strictly enforced by guidance patrols. Women who do not wear a hijab, or are considered to be wearing 'bad hijab' by having some of their hair showing, face punishments ranging from fines to imprisonment.  

This is not the first time Sidhu has reportedly objected to the enforcement of the hijab in Iran. Two years ago she reportedly withdrew from a championship held in the country for the same reason. Sidhu is also not the first woman competitor to challenge the hijab ban. Earlier this month, champion chess-player, Nazi Paikidze-Barnes, announced that she will boycott February’s Women's World Chess Championship in Iran because the players will have to wear hijabs.

 

AM

 

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