Refusal to wear ‘hijab’ leads Heena Sidhu to pull out of Asian Airgun Shooting Championship
Heena Sidhu (Image credit- StarsUnfolded)
New Delhi: Ace Indian shooter Heena Sidhu has opted out of the Asian Airgun Shooting Championship scheduled to be held in Tehran in December this year because of Iran’s insistence on following the dress code, which makes wearing of the ‘hijab’ compulsory for female contestants.
Heena, the defending champion felt that this was against the spirit of the game.
“Forcing tourists or foreign guests to wear ‘hijab’ is against the spirit of the game. Since I don’t like it, I have withdrawn my name,” she said, as quoted by The Times of India.
She added, “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.”
It has been clearly stated by the organisers, in the official website that the female contestants have to adhere to the dress code according to the rules of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
However, this isn’t the first time that the ace shooter has decided to pull out of a tournament in Iran.
Said Heena, “Yes, I have done it earlier as well. Two years back, I had decided not to go to Iran for the same reasons. It’s only Iran which insists on such a code. It does not happen in other nations.”
In the meantime, Rajendra Singh, the President of the Rifle Association said that the Indian shooters have always acknowledged and respected Iranian traditions.
He said, “We have good relations with Iranian shooting federation and we respect their culture and tradition. All females, including tourists and diplomats, wear hijab when they visit Iran. All other Indian female shooters, except Heena, have accepted the decision.”