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ERIC Number: EJ1070334
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1740-8989
Jordanian National Football "Muslimat" Players: Interrupting Islamophobia in FIFA's "Hijab" Ban
Hamzeh, Manal
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, v20 n5 p517-531 2015
Background: Though "muslim" females exclusion from physical activities and sports has concerned scholars for years, they are still being theorized out of context and out of history and not as agents in their own lives. Within the prevailing context of the "War on Terror," "muslim" females are becoming more racialized in sports and are unnecessarily constructed as needing protection and void of any agency. In 2010, a crisis emerged out of the International Federation of Association Football's (FIFA) erratic interpretation of Law 4 which excluded "muslim" females players with a head/cover gear deemed unsafe on the field. This crisis highlighted the importance of understanding not only the targeted exclusion of "muslim" female players but also the importance of working with "muslim" female national football players and the possibilities of them resisting the racializing and gendering logics of a mega-sport institution such as FIFA. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to understand how five women football players on the Jordanian national team negotiated FIFA's "hijab ban" of 2011. Particularly, it seeks the perspectives of the players themselves--whether they are wearing the head and/or neck cover or not and whether their "muslimness" is visible or not--and their stories of how they negotiated FIFA's "hijab ban" (2011-2012). Methodology: This paper is part of a larger critical qualitative study based on (1) dialogical interviews with five football players on the Jordanian national team, (2) material the players crafted and used to campaign against FIFA's "hijab ban," (3) players' journals, (4) email correspondence and (5) web-based campaigning material. I deploy "arab-muslim" feminist scholars' more complicated understanding of the "hijab" and theorize of how "muslim" women's bodies are regulated by two interconnected hijabophobias, the Islamist and Western-Islamophobic. Findings: The findings are organized in the following themes: (1) experiencing humiliation and injustice, (2) exposing FIFA's Islamophobic standpoint and (3) resisting through solidarity and activism. The results suggest that the "muslim" female football players on the Jordanian national team exposed the FIFA's Islamophobic hijabophobia in its interpretation of Law 4. They acted with resilience and political savviness to regain the right to play while being "muslim" female under FIFA's laws. This suggests that "muslim" females are active agents in their own lives and on a global level. They are able to counter the racializing injustices produced by very powerful sport institutions. Non-"muslim"/Western policy-makers, researchers, teachers and trainers working among "muslim" women and youth need to consider this example as a frame to their participatory research, critical pedagogies, and physical education (PE) and sport curricula. They need to recognize that we are living a moment in history in which "muslim" women's bodies are sites of both the Islamist and the colonialist anxieties in their struggles for power. Thus, they need to urgently be engaged in the theories and pedagogical approaches that challenge both the Islamist and the Islamophobic hijabophobias in sport and PE.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Jordan
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A