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Islamophobia: Acceptable racism?

By       Message Joe Rathbun       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink

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One game-One community

Soccer, football everywhere else, has been a big part of my life. I played for A.Y.S.O. and United when I was young, varsity team when I was a sophomore, and countless scrimmage games since. Thoughts of racism were, in large part, non-existent. Aside from the occasional under-the-breath uttering from an ignorant player on the loosing team, the game was the game, race not included.

Soccer to me is an interracial game, and thrives because of it. I opened up the paper this morning (Mon. Oct.15), and this caption in the Tampa Tribune caught my eye:"Teen Plays Soccer In Scarf After Ban."

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Now the first thing that came to my mind was not what the article was about, but how the word "scarf" was used. Scarf? Now some of you out there might think, by the title of said article in the Tampa Trib., that this has to be about some Muslim right? Yes. And if you didn't see the offense, you are the very people I'm going to talk about.

The use of scarf in reference to a Muslim woman's clothing is, at the very least, disrespectful, in my opinion racist.

Jilab/birqa (a sort of a cloak or overall covering from head to foot; an outer garment; a long gown covering the whole body, or a cloak covering the neck and bosom) and Khumur (generally translated as 'veil', In other words the Quranic term Khumur can be interpreted to mean either (1) a head-veil covering not only the head, but also the bosom, or (2) a head-veil which covers not only the head and the bosom but also the face" . The second ( #2) kind of veil is also generally known as niqab.

Not a scarf, towel or any other slur used to generalize something the user doesn't understand, making the user ignorant. Now instead of going into a diatribe about this being what I would consider a Freudian-slip pointing to the possibility of secret Islamophobia by the author, I will go on about what was in the body of the article.

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Here are some excerpts:

By JASON GEARY, The Tampa Tribune

Published: October 15, 2007

PALM HARBOR - Iman Khalil was just another girl taking the soccer field Sunday, running alongside teammates and keeping a close eye on the ball. Occasionally, the 15-year-old tucked the back of her white head scarf into her red and white jersey.

A day earlier, teammates, parents and even members of an opposing team had lobbied a referee to let Khalil play after he ruled the Muslim girl's head scarf violated league rules.

She took the field Sunday in the Hernando Heat's 1-0 loss to the South Hillsborough Soccer League Celtics. A different referee allowed Khalil to play wearing her head scarf, and league officials showed up with policies that showed she should have been able to play Saturday.

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'Unfortunately, sometimes they referees stick too far to the letter of the rule and allow no leeway,' said Mike Gann, a vice president with the United Soccer Association.

League representatives expressed regret that she had been benched Saturday.

'There was nothing we could do,' said Frank Villaizan, president of the USA board. 'Once the referee steps on the field, he is the governing body of that field. He runs the game, and we respect that.'

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