With Muslims taking over headlines at Rio, stereotypes are being torn apart day by day. This is especially true when it comes to headscarved female athletes who have delivered stellar performances at the 2016 games.
The International Basketball Federation ( FIBA ) has a ban on headwear, including the hijab, forcing many Muslim women to opt out of the games. Their reason? The hijab "may cause injury to other players."
However, following a petition in 2014, FIBA approved a two year provisional period, allowing athletes to compete in religious headwear at the national level only.
Although the ban, which may be lifted following a multi-year process, has been in place for many years, it is being challenged once again with petitions.
FIBA will deliberate whether to lift the ban or make it permanent by the end of August. Meanwhile, #LetThemPlay and #FIBAAllowHijab swing into full gear.
FIBA has a generic policy banning headgear that exceeds 5 centimeters in width, taking no exception to religious headwear into consideration including turbans and hijabs.
"Little did I know that my hijab, the same thing that made me accomplish things that I’ve accomplished so far, like meeting the president of the United States, was the same hijab that was going to prevent me from reaching my dream," said Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir to The Independent .
Abdul-Qaadir was the first to play basketball in a hijab at a collegiate level.
Playing with headwear worn for religious reasons should be permissible "in order to create an even playing field for both men and women of all faiths," Elbadawi wrote .
Over 95,000 people have signed the petition so far. The goal is to get 150,000 people to sign the petition before it is sent along to FIBA President Horacio Muratore.
Elbadawi first submitted a petition to FIBA in 2014, and successfully received a two year provisional period as the organization explores lifting the ban.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations ( CAIR ) in partnership with the Sikh Coalition have also put together a petition, demanding the ban to be lifted. This petition has received over 13,000 signatures, 86 percent of the petition's goal.
"The only determining factors for athletic participation should be skill and hard work, not what is worn on one’s head," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, according to The Huffington Post .