Skip to main site content.
Indian shooter Heena Sidhu lines up a shot as she takes part in a training session at the Maharshtra Rifle Association firing range in Mumbai. April 25, 2016.

Up in arms

Champion airgun shooter boycotts competition in Iran over hijab requirement

By WITW Staff on October 31, 2016

Heena Sidhu, a gold-medal sports shooter from India, is refusing to participate in the Asian Airgun Shooting Championship, which will be held in Tehran in December. She has withdrawn from the event because she opposes Iranian laws that require all women — including sports contestants — to wear a hijab.

“Forcing tourists or foreign guests to wear [a] hijab is against the spirit of the game,” she said during an interview with the Times of India. “Since I don’t like it, I have withdrawn my name. 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.”

Sidhu also explained her decision in a series of tweets, saying, “Im not a revolutionary. But I feel [that] making it mandatory for even a sportsperson to wear hijab is not in the spirit of a Sport.”

Sidhu is not the only competitor recently to take a stand against the policy. Last month, American chess champion Nazi Paikidze-Barnes vowed to skip the chess championships being held in Iran next year. “I will not wear a hijab and support women’s oppression,” she said. “Even if it means missing one of the most important competitions of my career.”

Read the full story at Times of India.



Iranian woman discusses choice to cut hair so she can walk hijab-free in public

Men in Iran post photos of themselves wearing hijabs in protest of strict laws governing women

Asra Nomani explores a hostile phenomenon she calls ‘hijab shaming