Indian shooter withdraws from Iranian competition, refusing to wear hijab; a hijabi fashion blogger flaunts her makeup

November 8, 2016 • 9:30 am

Not much seems to have happened since I posted about the Iranian Women’s world chess championship next year, in which women will be forced to wear the hijab. American champion Nazi Paikidze-Barnes refused to participate under those conditions, and was supported by not only other female and male players, including Garry Kasparov and Pan-American champion Carla Heredia, but also the U.S. Chess Federation as a whole. (FIDE, the world chess federation, has rules against sex discrimination.)

The only update is that the President of FIDE, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, says that players should respect local laws and customs, and therefore women should wear the hijab. That may torpedo the chances of FIDE’s dream of having chess included as an Olympic sport, as the International Olympic Committee is examining FIDE’s decision to see whether it violates Olympic rules against sex discrimination.  (I’m not sure whether chess qualifies as a “sport”, but my very thin book of Great Jewish Athletes, given to me when I was a child, had to include chess players or there would be virtually nobody in the pages besides Sandy Koufax and Hank Greenberg!)

Finally, Iranian chess players are of course opposing Paikidze-Barnes’s call for a boycott, with some saying stuff like this:

“This campaign against the tournament is against Iranian women and it doesn’t help at all,” said Sara Khademalsharieh, a 19-year-old international master from Iran.

“It’s the first time we are hosting a world championship, not only in chess but [in any] sport, and I think it’s very important for Iranian women to have this chance to hold such major events.”

Her comments were echoed by teammate Mitra Hejazipour, a 23-year-old grandmaster.

“The hijab is not oppression. We are used to it and it’s one of Iran’s laws and we accept it,” she said.

But it surely is oppression, as Iranian women protested en masse when the hijab was made mandatory in 1979. Just because slaves are used to their shackles doesn’t mean they’re not oppressed. And the women of Iran have no choice about accepting the law.

Here are rare photos of Iranian women protesting the hijab decree in 1979. They lost. “We are used to it” indeed!


Whenever someone from Iran says that they wear the hijab by “choice”, remember these photos.


Now another woman athlete, from India, has taken a similar stand to Paikidze-Barnes. The India Times reports that an Indian shooter, Heena Sidhu, is refusing to participate in the Asian Airgun championship in Iran, despite being the Asian champion, because she won’t wear the required hijab.

“Forcing tourists or foreign guests to wear ‘hijab’ is against the spirit of the game. Since I don’t like it, I have withdrawn my name,” Heena told Times of India. “You follow your religion and let me follow mine. I’ll not participate in this competition if you are going to force me to comply with your religious beliefs,” she said.

Her eloquent and principled stand is a strong rebuke to all the Iranian women who say that they’ve gotten used to the garment forced on them against their will 47 years ago.

Heena Sidhu

In other news, the Regressive Left continues to fall all over itself trying to evince the greatest approbation and worship of this repressive headscarf. Check out the “Religion” section of PuffHo, which never fails to throw women under the bus when it comes to praising Islam. There you’ll see this headline (click on the screenshot to see the article):


Look at that subheading: “We’re so excited!” But why? Because someone who wears a garment meant to preserve female modesty, and avoid calling attention to one’s femininity and beauty, wrecks that whole plot by doing this?:


Good God! (Or should I say, “God is great!”). Unless you’re wearing the hijab as a cultural rather than religious garment, something that I’ve never heard any woman say (I’m sure there are a few), it’s sheer hypocrisy to cover your hair to avoid exciting attention (and men) while wearing tons of makeup to effect just the opposite. HuffPo, however, can’t see the problem, touting this as a big blow for “diversity”:

Nura Afia is a well-known Muslim beauty blogger and now, she’s also an ambassador for CoverGirl.

. . . CoverGirl’s campaigns are absolutely wrecking the competition by showing faces that represent more than just one cookie-cutter ideal. Beauty is not exclusive and shouldn’t ever be treated as such.

Congrats, Nura!!

That last sentence, about “cookie cutter ideals,” bears some thought. If this woman were a Muslim who didn’t wear a hijab, nobody would get “excited” at all. Example? Iman, the stunningly beautiful Muslim model (and wife of the late David Bowie), who began a modeling career in 1976. Why doesn’t she represent diversity as much as does Nura Afia? Only because Iman doesn’t wear a hijab. That’s nothing to get excited about, eh, PuffHo? You have to show the signs of oppression to get them excited. Such is the Regressive Left.

h/t: Malgorzata

22 thoughts on “Indian shooter withdraws from Iranian competition, refusing to wear hijab; a hijabi fashion blogger flaunts her makeup

  1. Why isn’t the hijab-wearing Cover Girl an example of inappropriate cultural appropriation? She’s clearly adopted an eastern cultural practice in a western display of the feminine ideal. It doesn’t seem to me that her being an “authentic” Muslim excuses this because at bottom she is an agent of a western, capitalist organization.

    1. While agreeing with the thrust of JAC’s remarks, I have to say that there is something appealing about the inversion of the hijab’s traditional meaning in a kind of transgressive campy way.

      (But if there is such a subtext to this woman’s efforts, she and other purveyors of it are keeping mighty quiet about it.)

    1. It does! And if you go to the rules set out by conservative Islam, this woman is drawing attention to herself and therefore not living up to the rules surrounding hijab, which mandate no make up, no beautifying of the hands or feet, no gold jewellery, and much more in addition to the clothing.

      Personally I think she should wear whatever she wants of course, but to celebrate her as an hijabi wouldn’t please the Ayatollah, among millions of others. In their opinion, she wouldn’t be being suitably modest. It is modesty that sets a true hijabi apart!

        1. You always must have lashes with the hijabi.

          In Saudi Arabia I think at least 50 for this outfit.

          Seriously, if women in Iran made up their faces like this, the burka would quickly become law.

  2. A couple thoughts on the whole Islamic attire thing that I don’t seem to find (perhaps short attention span):

    The claim that it is “by choice” begs the question: who framed it as a choice? And what are the choices? Is it perhaps a choice for women by women? ( of course not).

    Lots and lots of women – and only women- wear things on their heads. Eastern Europe for instance. I think this passing observation is in the same vein as “all religions are more or less the same” thinking of a person who doesn’t bother learning about religions, and produces the cutesy PuffHo headlines.

    Other things but I have to go.

  3. … my very thin book of Great Jewish Athletes …

    I hope that book had a big, fat chapter on great Jewish prizefighters, like Benny Leonard and Barney Ross and Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom!

  4. No matter what, I can’t bring myself to understand how come today anyone can believe that a god monitoring trillions and trillions of worlds in the universe should, could, would worry about women’s hairdos…Anyway long live Heena Sidhu

    1. That’s because they are really more like the traditional impetuous Olympian types: jealous and vengeful. There are quite a few beauties who probably lost everything because Athena had a bad day.

  5. “…they’ve gotten used to the garment forced on them against their will 47 years ago.”

    Actually 37 years ago?

  6. President of FIDE, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, says that players should respect local laws and customs, and therefore women should wear the hijab.

    So, when they come here they will have BLTs for lunch? Or, more to the point, they will dress like typical Western women?

    Bravo (or brava, or bravi) to all those opposing repression of women by religion. And no, I don’t give the religionists a pass if it so happens that their victims have internalized the rationalizations given.

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