Turban Ban in Quebec
Despite how busy I am currently, I felt compelled to add my two cents to the current topic of the turban ban by the Quebec Soccer Federation.
For those who are unfamiliar with what has transpired, last week the QSF banned the wearing of turbans by Sikh players while playing soccer. Since the Sikh’s are required by their religion to wear the head wear, it effectively means that Sikh children are not allowed to play organized soccer in the province. There has been a very vocal uproar and the QSF were forced to give a reason for the ban. They responded that it was for safety concerns and dismissively stated that the kids can just play in their backyard.
This past Monday, the Canadian Soccer Association suspended the Quebec Soccer Federation until they lifted the ban. Politicians of course have weighed in. A few siding with the QSF and admonishing the CSA for meddling in Quebec affairs. Others disagreed both with the ban and the suspension since it is ultimately the kids who are paying the price for this.
The morning radio shows have been discussing this at length and online commentary has made charges of racism and intolerance. Many point to it being another example of Quebec intolerance. I did find one discussion quite enlightening where one panelist pointed out how Quebecers are very tolerant and friendly people in person, but when it comes to policy and politics, they become extremely protectionist. If you live here, you experience one reality while in the media and from elsewhere there appears to be quite another.
But back to the ban and my take on it. I very much wanted that there is a valid reason for the ban, but I have yet to hear one. The main reason has been for safety, but there has been no statistics or examples of harm done provided. It was not like there was a string of injuries to back up the claim. There has been a claim that turbans are banned in the official FIFA rules. But I’ve also heard people say that there is no official direction by FIFA. Plus Quebec is now the only jurisdiction with this ban. If it is an official FIFA rule, why are other jurisdictions not following it? It would make more sense if there were other jurisdictions with this ban, but there are none.
So without any real valid reason for the ban, it sincerely appears to have come out of the blue due to the whim of someone. Unfortunately due to the multiple instances of perceived or real intolerance, that is what people are going to assume. The truly sad thing about this is that the group that is banned is children. In a world where we hope to propagate tolerance and community, showing intolerance to impressionable children is the wrong direction.