Jakarta (Indonesia): Indonesians have thrown their support behind Miftahul Jannah, the blind judo athlete who was disqualified from Asian Para Games in Jakarta on Monday just because she was wearing Hijab - the headscarf Muslim females normally use to cover their head.
“Defend your Hijab. It is important to take part in the Asian Games [but] you have become a champion,” wrote one supporter on social media.
“You are the real winner. Maintain your Hijab and do not open it,” wrote another, while one contributor said: “You are more noble in the eyes of God.”
According to South China Morning Post, the 21-year-old Muslim athlete was in tears after the referee disqualified her, with reports indicating that the rule banning the headscarf was only introduced the day before the judo events started. The organisers cited safety reasons for the newly introduced law.
“Whatever the risk, I will not remove the Hijab,” Miftahul, a national champion, was quoted as saying.
“I’m feeling sad, yes, because I trained hard for the past 10 months, sometimes working so hard that I couldn’t even move my hands", she added.
“But after all that, this is the result [disqualification]. The decision is made", she said.
Hijab-wearing Indonesian athletes have in the past won Gold at August’s Asian Games in Jakarta in sports such as taekwondo and pencak silat.
“There should be no difference between Asian Games and Asian Para Games,” a user – who claims to have been on the Asian Games panel for jiujitsu, wrote. “Why should it be any different?"
“When I was on the Asian Games panel for jiujitsu, athletes from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iran and Indonesia wore headscarves and there was no problem. They used a special hijab that was standardised. Why is it suddenly different?” the netizen said.
Meanwhile, Senny Marbun, the president of the Indonesia’s national paralympic committee, was reluctant to say much, shifting the burden on to coach Latif. “It’s very sensitive. Just ask the coach,” he was quoted as saying.
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