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.
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”:
. . . 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.
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.