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Qatar Quits Games In Headscarf Row

The Qatari female basketball team at the Asian Games have forfeited a game due to not being allowed to wear their headscarves.

Confusion was the word of the day at this year’s Asian Games in South Korea, as the Qatari women’s basketball team forfeited their game against Mongolia as a protest against not being allowed to wear their hijabs on the court.

The Qatari contingent were apparently under the impression that they would be allowed to wear their religious headdress during the games, with their representative Khalil al-Jabir saying, “We were expecting our players to play with the hijab, that’s why we came here. Nobody told us that it will not be allowed and we are still waiting for clarifications.”

The Qatari team are due to play Nepal today and there has still been no word as to whether the game will go on. FIBA, basketball’s international governing body, has still not commented on the situation.

This comes hot off the heels of Saudi Arabia’s decision to not send any female athletes to this year’s edition of the Asian Games. Mohamed al-Mishal told Reuters that the decision was made due to a lack of female athletes of an international calibre, despite the fact that two women were sent as part of their contingent at the 2012 Olympics in London.